Public Speaking & Debating

Individual Events

At St Mary’s Catholic College, students participate in several public speaking competitions in the Cairns region.

In Years 11-12 students compete in the Lions’ Youth of the Year Challenge which begins in our local district at Edmonton Lions’ Club. This competition assesses students’ ability to talk on a topic of their own choice as well as answer impromptu questions on current social issues.

Across the grades, from Years 7-12, students participate in the Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking Competition. Over a series of rounds, students are asked to write a speech on a set topic as well as respond to impromptu questions.

In Years 7-9 students compete in the Calanna Public Speaking Competition. Calanna’s Pharmacy is an iconic, community-focused business located in our school district. At this event, students are asked to present a 3-5 minute speech on a set topic.

As a part of their preparation and training, participants gain valuable experience in areas such as topic interpretation and development; script-writing; effective argumentation; verbal and non-verbal technique and overall presentation. The students are all taught, prepared and coached by experienced and committed St Mary’s teachers.


Team Events

St Mary’s is proud to participate in the annual Cairns Rotary Southside Debating Competition. Each year St Mary’s enters a Senior and a Junior team to the competition.

Students gain valuable skills such as effective listening and speaking, clear and logical argument and rebuttal, teamwork and confidence. Debaters are taught, prepared and coached by experienced and committed St Mary’s teachers. Debating within the school also includes the Year 8 Debate where the Year 8 cohort participates in a series of Sporting House debates mentored by the Senior students. It is a great opportunity for the junior years to learn and work with Senior students.

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