Year 12 student scoops National Public Speaking Award

Congratulations to Matthew Hall (Year 12) on winning the National Final of the Plain English Speaking Award on Monday 10 August! The Plain English Speaking Award (PESA) is a public-speaking competition for students aged 15-18 years.

Claiming the National Title

Matthew claimed the National Title in the final held at the HALL MatthewACT Legislative Assembly in Canberra.  Matthew delivered a prepared 8 minute speech, Growing Coffee,  participated in an interview and responded to the impromptu topic the road not taken to present a second speech. His interpretation of the impromptu topic was that we need to forge a new path in environmental responsibility which coexists with economic growth (reference to Adani coal mine proposal).

Matthew will now represent Australia at the International Final in May next year, to be held in London. BBM Youth Support and the Australia Britain Society will sponsor Matthew to attend the International Final.

The Ballarat Grammar Community salutes you, Matthew!

Winning the State Finals

Prior to his attendance at the National Final of PESA, Matthew was one of six senior secondary students from across Victoria competing in the PESA State Final on Friday 17 July 2015 at the Treasury Theatre.

Details of Matthew’s State Award has been acknowledged in the VCAA Bulletin August 2015:

“Matthew’s speech, Growing coffee, challenged the audience’s understanding of the fair trade movement. He argued it is increasingly used as a sales term rather than a meaningful reflection of ethical trade practices. Matthew’s captivating speech contrasted poetic descriptions of the drink that is integral to Melbourne’s famous laneway culture, with a critical analysis of global coffee industry practices. His skilled use of the English language and the depth of his research challenged the audience to re-think their understanding of fair trade.”

Matthew received a personal trophy and a book voucher donated by the Australia-Britain Society. Ballarat Grammar will house the PESA Perpetual Trophy for the next year as an acknowledgement of Matthew’s outstanding achievement.

Public Speaking Opportunities

Nearly 200 students in Years 10, 11 and 12 participated in the regional finals held across Victoria earlier this year. From the regional finals, 24 students progressed to the semifinals in June.

According to VCAA, The Plain English Speaking Award is an opportunity for students to extend their oral communication beyond the classroom, and engage with their peers from other schools in a positive and supportive environment. This annual award has provided a platform for students to share their ideas for almost 40 years.