Skip to ContentBack to top

Speaking Competition Highlights Talented Intermediate Students

St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) celebrated the 25th Annual St. Michael’s Intermediate Public Speaking Championship on Tuesday, April 9, following months of hard work, practice, and dedication from Grade 7 and 8 students.

“The competition was a successful event that shined a spotlight on just some of the talent among our intermediate students,” says Dr. Caitlin Gaffney, core intermediate and modern languages teacher. “One of the many aims of the Core English programme is to foster confident communicators. To achieve this, all students participate in a public speaking unit.”

SMCS Intermediate Speaking Competition - Student on stage speaking

From gushing about random objects, creating Crocodile Hunter-style videos, and passionately ranting about things they dislike, the programme provides students opportunities to develop their capacity to be effective and engaging speakers.

“Students don’t just learn how to organize their thoughts and articulate them clearly, but they come to understand that delivery is crucial, that both passion and enthusiasm are contagious, and that rehearsing and refining a 3-5 minute speech actually requires a lot of time,” adds Gaffney.

Before March Break, all intermediate students closed out the public speaking unit by captivating their classmates with a speech on an idea, person, or thing that has changed or will change the world. The top speakers were selected from each Grade 7 and 8 English class and were invited to showcase their work on our theatre stage.

SMCS Intermediate Speaking Competition - Student delivering his speech

“Throughout this unit, I learned that public speaking is so much more than five minutes of speaking; it is more about what you learn and the feedback you receive,” says Maxwell Jackson, Grade 7.

This year’s event featured 11 speakers who discussed a diverse array of topics, ranging from entertaining (Belmond Mao delivered a very amusing speech on Santa Claus), to persuasive (Eamon Zietsma cleared up some negative assumptions about nuclear energy), to informative (Carson Walsh discussed the different applications of DNA testing and Andrew Stefan even proposed a solution to reduce carbon emissions in Canada).

“When I was up on stage in front of everyone, I felt excited because I could be part of a friendly competition against my peers, where if anything happened, at least I would learn,” says Jackson Ward, Grade 8. “During the whole speech competition, I learned many things, like how to look at the crowd and talk with meaning, which I feel really helped me place on the podium.”

SMCS Intermediate Speaking Competition - Student speaking on stage

The judging panel included seasoned veteran Norah Higgins, who has served as a judge since the competition’s inception; Ms. Lisa Lipetz, librarian; David Lee ’94, vice principal; and Pat Daly, principal.

After careful deliberation, Jackson Ward received third place for his compelling and timely speech on Fake News. Maxwell Jackson, who made the Grade 7 cohort proud with his thought-provoking speech on space exploration, took second place. First place was awarded to Eamon Zietsma, Grade 8, for delivering an insightful perspective on nuclear energy.

SMCS Intermediate Speaking Competition winners

“Winning the speech competition was absolutely incredible! I poured my heart and soul into crafting the perfect speech, practicing day and night,” says Eamon Zietsma. “When the moment came to step up on that stage, I felt a mix of nerves and excitement. But as soon as I started speaking, all those jitters melted away. The crowd was captivated, hanging on to every word I said. And when I finished, the thunderous applause and cheers filled the room. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Related links:


Student Success

Related Stories