2015 Oratory Competition winners

September 13, 2015

The College’s leading public speakers shone on the big stage on Friday night when they competed in the 75th Annual Oratory Competitions.

In a revised format to mark the 75th year of the esteemed competitions, competing students had to progress through the preliminary rounds on Thursday to earn the right to compete in the finals in the OCA Pavilion on Friday evening.

Past Purton Oratory Award winners Justin Quill (SPC 1989-91), Allister Morrison (SPC 1990-95) and Lachlan Keen (SPC 1998-03) were welcomed back to the College to fill the roles as adjudicators for the finals of the Br H T Breach Oratory Award for junior speakers and for the Br D G Purton Oratory Award for senior speakers.

Four finalists in each of the awards were asked to speak in front of an audience of about 70 people and all spoke brilliantly.

Competitors in the Br H T Breach Oratory Award were required to speak on a topic of their choice for five minutes and it was Year 8 student Matthew Duffy who emerged triumphant.

In the senior division, each of the four finalists (Nathaniel Corboy, Liam O’Shea, James Parini and Campbell Milne) were required to speak for eight minutes. Year 11 student Liam O’Shea was announced the winner following his excellent speech calling for greater thought and controls to be placed around Ballarat’s rapid population growth.

It capped off a successful week for Liam who also won the Sir Hugh Devine Impromptu Speech Award on Thursday. Year 9 student Oscar Grigg won the Major Brian Broadribb Impromptu Speaking Award for junior students.

The three adjudicators all commented that they were amazed by the standard of public speaking on show.

Photo gallery from the night can be seen at- this link

Head of Public Speaking and Debating Mr Michael Murphy has provided the following summary:

“This past year has been a highly successful one for the SPC public peaking and debating society. In the space of 12 months we grew our numbers from 6 debating- teams to 16.- We have achieved at the highest levels in the state holding our own against many Melbourne colleges. Most notably one of our Year 9 debating teams made it though to the state quarter finals ranking them among the top 8 teams for their division consisting of just over 600 other teams. Further to that one of our year 11 teams has reached the semi-final ranking them in the top four teams in the state, a pool in this case of about 300 teams.-

The success doesn’t stop their, earlier this year we had two teams progress to the state finals in the EVATT Competition run by the UN Youth. One young man, John Brodie reached the state finals for Lions Youth of the Year. The furthest any SPC student had ever- progressed. In Legacy junior public speaking two young men will compete in the regional finals, one of whom last year was a state finalist.-

But why is this significant?

This large degree of success has translated into the highly competitive field on display in this year’s Oratory Competition. – Within the junior section there were 17 entrants (which is more than the entire competition the previous year). These junior spoke on a wide variety of topics from marriage equality to determination, the winner of the competition focused on reforming America’s gun laws. Due to the significant interest the college ran a semi final round which saw four young men from both junior and senior selected to compete in the finals. Matt Duffy was the overall winner for the Breach Oratory for a second year in a row.-

In the Mary Purcell Debate, the year 9 team enjoying significant success in the Debaters Association of Victoria (DAV) won. The team consisted of Oscar Grigg, Ryan Mulheron, Josh Findlay and Xavier O’Shea. The final result in the junior competition was for the Impromptu Section which Oscar Grigg won.-

In the seniors, the debate between our year 12 team and one of our year 11s was won taken out by the year 12s in what proved to be a very close debate. James McKinnon, Thomas Paarhammer and Cam Milne did an outstanding job, not only in demonstrating significant skill during the debate, but thoughout this year as leaders within the college.-

Liam O’Shea did outstandingly well wining both the Purton Oratory and the Sir Hugh Devine Impromptu Trophy. Liam was able to recall quotes of Oscar Wilde in his impromptu speech whilst ensuring the future infrastructural development of Ballarat as it progresses into the future.-

All of the young men that competed in the Oratory should be commended for their efforts. Significant skill and diligence is required in preparing an Oratory and each young man showed a great deal that not only in thier subject choice, but also thier presentation.-

This year was the first of what hopes to be many Oratory competition featuring finals, which were outstandingly attended with over 60 people, many of whom were previous Oratory Winners themselves. As we look to the future of public speakers at SPC it appears we are in very good hands. “