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Excellence & Awards

Plain English Speaking Award

State Final 2016

Luke Macaronas (St Kevin’s College) is the winner of the Victorian 2016 Plain English Speaking Award (PESA). Luke was one of six senior secondary students from across Victoria competing in the State Final on Friday 22 July at the Treasury Theatre.

Luke Macaronas winner of the Victorian PESA

Luke Macaronas, winner of the Victorian Plain English Speaking Award

Luke’s speech, ‘Locker-room culture’, encouraged the audience to think about how the violence and aggression of the locker-room has shaped the expectations placed on men. Luke’s speech analysed the notion that ‘real men don’t cry’, and the consequences of learned masculinity, including anti-social behaviour, under-reporting of mental illness and negative attitudes and violence towards women. His skilled use of the English language and the depth of his research challenged the audience to rethink how masculinity disempowers young men from learning to connect with themselves and understand their emotions.

Luke received a personal trophy donated by the Australia-Britain Society (Victoria) and book voucher donated by the English-Speaking Union (Victorian Branch). St Kevin’s College will house the PESA perpetual trophy for the next year as an acknowledgement of Luke’s outstanding achievement.

State finalists in the Victorian 2016 Plain English Speaking Award. Back row (L to R): Madeline Wang, Daniel Rabbat, Luke Macaronas. Front row (L to R): Chloe Gration, Eloise McLean, Arman Riazati

State finalists in the Victorian 2016 Plain English Speaking Award. Back row (L to R): Madeline Wang, Daniel Rabbat, Luke Macaronas. Front row (L to R): Chloe Gration, Eloise McLean, Arman Riazati

Runner-up Madeline Wang (Ballarat Grammar) delivered a thought-provoking speech about the challenges faced by women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and how changes in attitude can result in a cultural shift. The other state finalists, Chloe Gration (Lauriston Girls’ School), Arman Riazati (Melbourne High School), Daniel Rabbat (St Joseph’s College Geelong) and Eloise McLean (The Hamilton And Alexandra College), spoke on a range of topics, including political correctness, feminism and contemporary approaches to multiculturalism.

All six State Finalists presented well-researched arguments in their eight-minute prepared speeches, and demonstrated commendable skill in their handling of the impromptu section of the competition. Students had only four minutes to prepare a three-minute speech on the topic: ‘It is important to value differences’.

Luke will represent Victoria at the National Final in Sydney on Monday 15 August 2016. The Australia-Britain Society, which sponsors the Award, will cover Luke’s expenses to attend the National Final. The winner of the national award will receive $7000 and is invited to represent Australia at the international competition in London.

Nearly 200 students in Years 10, 11 and 12 participated in the regional finals held across Victoria earlier this year. From the regional finals, 24 students progressed to the semifinals in June.

PESA is an opportunity for students to extend their oral communication skills beyond the classroom, and engage with their peers from other schools in a positive and supportive environment. It has provided a platform for students to share their ideas for almost 40 years. The VCAA invites teachers to consider registering their students for the regional finals in 2017.

State Final speeches are available on the PESA webpage.

Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarships

Alumni news

Berta Brozgul

Berta Brozgul

Berta Brozgul and Joshua Hooke, two recipients of the Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarship for Performance, are finalists in the Australian National Piano Award later this year. This award is held in Shepparton every two years, and is the most highly regarded award of its kind in Australia. This year’s competition will be held in early September. Berta was a recipient of the scholarship in 2008 and Joshua in 2012.

Earlier this year, harpist Melina van Leeuwen (awarded a Performance scholarship in 2010) performed Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro and Debussy’s Danses sacrée et profane with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Scott Van Gemert, who was awarded a Performance scholarship in 2015, performed recently at Mount Gambier’s three-day jazz festival, Generations in Jazz. He was asked by James Morrison to compose three pieces, which were performed by the James Morrison Academy big band and the University of Texas stage band. He also traded solos with one of his heroes, Wycliffe Gordon, in front of 5000 people.

Melina van Leeuwen

Melina van Leeuwen

Composition scholarship recipient Jessop Maticevski-Shumack is studying for a Bachelor of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, with the aim of pursuing a major in Composition. Since completing his VCE in 2015, he has been composing and sharing his music via SoundCloud.

The Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarships (Performance and Composition) were established by the family of the late Margaret Schofield in recognition of her achievements as a musician and her commitment to music education. Applications for this year’s scholarships are now open to government school students of VCE Music Performance, VCE Music Investigation, VCE Music Style and Composition and/or VCE VET Music and will close on Friday 11 November 2016. Scholarship students receive a payment of $5000 towards the cost of their tertiary education in music performance or composition. More information about the scholarships is available on the VCAA website.

Season of Excellence

Survey reminder

Give your feedback on 2016 VCE Season of Excellence events, by taking part in the online survey for Top Acts, Top Class, Top Designs and Top Screen. Surveys close on Monday 15 August, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to provide feedback to the VCAA.

Resources available from Season of Excellence 2016

The Top Screen 2016 DVD is now available. It is packed with new resources for teachers and students. This year’s DVD includes two recordings of Top Screen education sessions at ACMI – How Did You Do It? and How Do I Do It? – as well as the filmmakers’ full production design plans.

Top Acts: Focus On … Dance is a series of three films that follow the dancers selected for Top Acts 2015. The films include tips and ideas for VCE and VCE VET Dance teachers and students. This is a free resource available to Victorian schools that offer these subjects. Email Student Events for details: seasonofexcellence@edumail.vic.gov.au.

The Top Designs 2016 catalogue includes descriptions of the works selected for this year’s exhibition and selected student folio pages that highlight excellent examples of curriculum criteria.

Resources from this year’s Season of Excellence, and previous years’, can be purchased via the Season webpage.