Six CEWA students speak out with poise, confidence

01 Jul 2021

By Contributor

The six finalists, from left: Louis Martino, Chelsea Fuderer, Lara Schmidt, Amy Mance, Caitlin Green, and Oscar Hegge. Photo: Supplied.

Six bright Catholic educated students have last month featured in the annual Speak for Faith competition; a public speaking contest sponsored by the Catenian Brothers’ Province 20

In its fifth year, Catholic Education Western Australia administers the annual Speak for Faith competition, which had been paused for one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From heats held on two Saturday mornings on 12 and 19 June, the six finalists were selected by a panel of adjudicators to compete at the finale held on 26 June in Nestor Hall at the offices of Catholic Education Western Australia in Leederville.

Open to Year 11 and 12 students, this year’s contest involved 17 participants from 12 Catholic schools and colleges within Western Australia.

Each student was required to present a prepared five-minute speech on a topic or theme chosen from his or her Catholic Religious Education curriculum.

Speakers were then given a topic with four minutes to prepare an impromptu speech of two minutes.

Many Catenians came along to swell the audience of teachers and parents at the two sessions of heats. About 50 people attended the final, including several Catenian brothers and their wives.

Event MC Gerard Tonks, Darling Range Brother and a past Provincial President, said the standard of speaking from all participants was “extremely high, reflecting a huge commitment to thorough preparation and delivery”.

“The standard of presentation from all six finalists was outstanding,” he expressed.

The panel of three prominent and competent adjudicators independent of the schools provided positive feedback to all speakers with pertinent critiques of content and presentation.

The adjudicators at the grand final were CEWA educators/administrators: Dr Chris Cotter, Maureen Delaney and Jim Elliott. The CEWA event organiser was Peter Higgins.

The six young finalists were joined by their families for the occasion on 26 June. Photo: Supplied.

The 2021 Speak for Faith finalists, in no particular order:

  • Chelsea Fuderer, Corpus Christi College;
  • Caitlin Green and Oscar Hegge, John XXIII College;
  • Amy Mance, Iona Presentation College;
  • Louis Martino, Aquinas College; and,
  • Lara Schmidt, St Joseph’s School Northam.

First prize was awarded to Lara Schmidt (St Joseph’s School Northam), second prize to Oscar Hegge (John XXIII College), and third prize to Amy Mance (Iona Presentation College).

Lara follows in the footsteps of other St Joseph’s School prize winners in this prestigious speaking competition.

In the inaugural 2016 event, St Joseph’s Year 11 student Gabriella Ochtman was awarded third prize. She successfully competed again in 2017 as a Year 12 student winning first prize, with St Joseph’s Meg Lawrence winning third prize in the same event.

Catenian Association WA Vice President John Murray presented the successful students with cash prizes totalling $1200.

The winners were also presented with engraved medallions, while the winning school, St Joseph’s School Northam, was also awarded a medallion. All 17 participants received certificates of participation.

An unexpected and welcome conclusion to the 26 June morning was an impromptu speech given by Luke Commins, Speak for Faith 2018 competition winner, a then-Bunbury Catholic College, Marist Campus, pupil.

Luke demonstrated why he was a previous winner with an eloquent speech complimenting the Catenian Association and the Catholic Education Office for providing the opportunity for students to participate in this public speaking initiative. Luke is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and journalism at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus.

Courtesy of The Western Link.