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PESA State Final 2017 winner announced

Fergus holding up the state winner plaque

Fergus Dale (Photo credit: Nicole Cleary)

Congratulations to Fergus Dale from Caulfield Grammar for winning the State Final of the 2017 Plain English Speaking Award (PESA). Fergus was one of six senior secondary students from across Victoria competing for the award on Wednesday 26 July 2017 at the Treasury Theatre.

Fergus’ captivating speech The disregarded identity of regional Australia challenged long-held stereotypes and misrepresentations of rural Australia by highlighting the progress occurring within these innovative and multicultural communities.

Through his skilled use of the English language, Fergus shared his personal experience as a country kid from the Indigo Valley, to discuss how increased support is needed for regional Australia. He argued that communities must be empowered in order to survive and remain an integral part of our country’s identity.

Fergus received a personalised trophy donated by the Australia Britain Society (Victoria) and a book voucher donated by the English Speaking Union (Victorian Branch). Caulfield Grammar will house the PESA Perpetual Trophy for the next year as an acknowledgement of Fergus’ outstanding achievement.

The runner-up for 2017 was Cree Oliveira from Nossal High School. Cree delivered the thought-provoking speech In defence of happy pigs in which she reframed the success of reality TV in the context of Australia’s intellectual snobbery.

Other finalists included Emma Darvas (Bayside P-12 College), Shahani Munaff (Al-Taqwa College), Anand Bharadwaj (Trinity Grammar School) and Niamh Nolan (St Leonard’s College).

All six state finalists presented well-researched arguments in their eight-minute prepared speeches, covering topics including the representation of mental health in the media, feminism and using education as a path to reconciliation.

All speakers 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 surprise topic One step ahead.

The adjudicators, Jacqueline Moore, Ellie Jeamonts and Terry Kenos were impressed by the standard and variety of speeches this year.
Fergus will go on to represent Victoria at the National Final in Melbourne on Monday 14 August 2017.

The Winner of the National PESA competition secures a coveted place at the English Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Competition (ISPC) in London, the world’s largest youth public speaking event. Over 50,000 students compete worldwide to win the chance to represent their countries at the ISPC.

The Plain English Speaking Award is an opportunity for students to extend their oral communication beyond the classroom, and engage with their peers from other schools in a positive and supportive environment.

Copies of State Finalist speeches are available on the PESA webpage.