At this time of the year it’s pretty precious to be involved in a secondary school such as ours. When it comes to young people putting themselves out there on a stage, where the audience’s eyes and ears are fixated on every word they utter and note they sing, I’m in absolute awe. It’s been a pretty incredible couple of weeks with public speaking, debating and the school musical all being centre stage in our school calendar.
I want to acknowledge all students this year that have taken part in public speaking. It is a tremendously courageous thing to do, to stand on a stage, open your mouth and speak thoughts, visions and persuasive arguments to an audience and adjudicator. I want to pay particular homage to Susan Malikoff who progressed through all stages of the Plain English Speaking Awards to compete in the State Final last week. To have come third in the state, competing against students and schools with far more resources than us, is something we are all tremendously proud of. A huge thankyou goes out to all that have supported Susan through the journey. Public speaking is a skill that is demanded in so many careers and moments in life. I know that Susan and all of those that have been involved in the various public speaking competitions this year will put this skill to great use in future years.
This week was also host to the local Eisteddfod debating competition, with various Warrnambool College students involved. Many teams won their debate; all teams did our school proud. One team I want to acknowledge is a year 8 team made up of students who we wouldn’t normally associate with representing the school on stage. For these three students, learning and life has presented its fair share of challenges. Research, writing and speaking aren’t things that come naturally to this team and yet they demonstrated persistence, resilience and respect for one another in preparing for and delivering a debate they can be proud of. A debate and effort that we can all be proud of. I saw one of the students afterward in his school blazer. He spoke with such pride of having the opportunity to dress up and represent his school on stage. The courage that these three students showed in putting themselves out there is an incredible feat. If only we could all show this willingness to take opportunities to grow and develop more often.
Speaking of taking up opportunities, I hope many of you have been able to take the opportunity to see our school musical this year. I marvel each year that almost 100 students audition to sing, dance, speak and act in front of hundreds of people. This is a big deal – it takes courage and confidence of the highest order and hours upon hours upon hours of practice and rehearsal. Strictly Ballroom has been lauded by so many people this week. It is a complex show mixing together ballroom dancing, beautiful songs, grand musical interludes, delightful costumes (and hair!) and an incredible set design. How it’s all come together remains a mystery to me – I can hardly believe that I walk the same corridors as the students that so confidently take the stage to tell the story of Fran and Scott. A massive thankyou to EVERYONE involved – these sort of events don’t just happen each year. They are carefully crafted and are definitely a labour of love.
The students of Warrnambool College have reminded me this past fortnight that it takes courage to be the best you can be. I hope their collective inspiration gives us all the courage to try something new and to exercise our ability to thrive.