Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Public School Students Battle It Out In State Parliament’s “Bearpit” On The Relevance Of The Olympic Games.

Alister in the 'Beat Pit' with School Students

The relevance of the Olympic Games to Australian ideals was debated this week during the public speaking competition involving students from Public Schools in the Ku-ring-gai electorate.

The 16th annual Ku-ring-gai Public Speaking competition returned to its usual venue, NSW Parliament’s “bearpit”, the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly.

Year 5 or 6 students from eight schools took part in this year’s event, the schools being Beaumont Road, Gordon West, Pymble, Normanhurst, Turramurra, Wahroonga (the Bush School), Waitara and Warrawee.

The topic on which the students were asked to prepare a three minute address this year was; “Olympic ideals are no longer relevant to modern day Australia”.

At the conclusion of the eight speeches, the students were then called upon to prepare a two minute impromptu address on the topic, “a second chance”.

The students gave some inspiring and in some instances witty insights during their speeches, including America’s possible wish for a second chance after the upcoming Presidential elections and the wish for a second chance at choosing an impromptu speech topic other than “a second chance”.

The three judges, Sydney barrister Andre Zahra, former Public School Principal Margaret Wick and Macquarie radio news journalist and presenter Natalie Peters were asked to mark the students on areas such as clarity of voice, pitch, pace and tone of delivery, the structure of their argument, use of notes and eye contact with the audience.

After the points were tallied, Gordon West Public School student Yue Hun Chia emerged this year’s winner.

Competition host, State Member for Ku-ring-gai Alister Henskens SC says he was incredibly impressed by the talent and bravery shown by all eight students under pressure.

“To stand before an audience is never an easy thing to do, but to do so for two minutes and brilliantly speak on a topic you were only given a few minutes earlier is exceptional.

“The standard set by all eight students this year is testament to the high quality of public schooling we have in NSW and a credit to their parents and teachers,” Mr Henskens said.

“I congratulate all the students on their efforts and especially Yue Hun on his win,” Mr Henskens said.