Knysna HS wins SACEE Online Public Speaking Competition
9 September 2020
The South African Council of English Educators (SACEE) initiated an Online Public Speaking Competition, recognising SACEE’s ability to innovate and pilot something new in this time of disruption.
SACEE has been in existence for more than sixty years and hosts the annual national English Olympiad and Language Challenge as well as regional competitions such as Spellcheck and Forum Discussions. It also publishes English Alive, the annual anthology of outstanding writing from schools.
SACEE Western Cape Chairperson, Alison Gwynne-Evans, said they found an eagerness among schools in areas outside of the Metros to participate in a competition that profiled outstanding public speakers – and brought a sense of community and achievement at a time when schools are typically isolated. Although the numbers participating were small, the quality of the entries was exceptional and the online platform worked remarkably well. SACEE is eager to expand the competition to other Western Cape schools next year and will initiate several selection rounds to ensure the best students get to the finals.
The focus of the speeches was persuasive and participants were given a choice of topics. It was interesting that all the entrants chose gritty topics relevant to South African challenges from a wide range of approaches which really profiled the importance of public platforms to build arguments on controversial topics.
Knysna High School was the winning school and will be awarded the splendid wooden shield – while the top speaker was Julia Rubin from St Cyprian’s School, closely followed by Elsa Wolmarans from Knysna High School and Melvinito Miggels from Van Rhynsdorp High School. Reikanne Selela from Masibambane High School tied for fourth place with Bryn Golson, also from Knysna High School.
Competition was fierce and there was a clear rubric detailing what the judges were looking for. It was wonderful to see the range of perspectives so articulately and persuasively expressed and this will be an event to put in the calendar for 2021.