Latest News

2018 Victorian PESA State Final – Wednesday 25 July 2018

PESA finalists

Samuel Roach (St Kevin’s College) took out the Victorian State final of the 2018 Plain English Speaking Award (PESA), with Caitlin Grieve (Ballarat Grammar) being awarded runner-up. Samuel and Caitlin were awarded from six inspiring students who took to the stage at Treasury Theatre for the competition.

In his speech ‘The phase’, Samuel spoke about the awkward years when boys transition into men and the role parents can play during adolescent years in his coming of age speech. Referring to his cohort of Year 10 male students, Samuel encouraged a new kind of relationship between young men and their parents. ‘Guide us, inform us, and demand of us your expectations. And I promise you, we will rise to them,’ he told the crowd.

The runner up was Caitlin Grieve from Ballarat Grammar who explored farming for the future, exploring the future possibility of ‘entomophagy’, which is insect-eating, and the laboratory production of protein based foods, which Caitlin labelled as ‘fake meat’.

Other speakers were Susan Malikoff from Warrnambool College who discussed the global garment industry, Alessandra Negline from Loreto Mandeville Hall who spoke about the roots of gender inequality, Karmil Nguyen from Suzanne Cory High School who asserted that domestic violence is more than just a women’s issue and Jade Vergara from Waverley Christian College who discussed the Australian organ donation system.

The Master of Ceremonies for the event was former National PESA winner and International Public Speaking Competition champion, Luke Macaronas. Luke welcomed 2017 PESA champion, Fergus Dale who delivered a congratulatory note of praise to the contestants and had an open conversation with Luke about the positive impact PESA has had on his confidence and communication abilities.

The capacity to present a compelling and coherent argument remains an attribute much valued in the community and especially by employers. This year over 180 students competed in a series of regional finals across Victoria. The students who make the PESA final have demonstrated the highest capacity in this regard.

The adjudicators for 2018 were 2009 PESA winner and 3000acres CEO Morgan Koegel, British Consul General in Melbourne Christopher Holtby OBE and VCE Curriculum Program Manager at the VCAA Robyn Douglass, with Publishing Coordinator Robyn Scott on timekeeping duties.

Between the speeches, the audience was entertained by musician Kym Dillon who celebrated 10 years providing entertainment at the Victorian PESA finals. A keyboardist of immense skill, Kym came to the attention of the VCAA Student Events team as part of the 2007 VCE Season of Excellence, an annual festival that celebrates outstanding senior secondary student work in the arts, music and performance from Victorian schools. Kym effortlessly performed a range of musical numbers referencing the subjects and themes of the speakers.

Samuel took home 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 Samuel’s outstanding achievement. The national finals will be held in Darwin on 12 August, where Samuel will represent Victoria.

Read the full transcripts of the six finalists’ speeches: