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An International Independent School’s Public Speaking Competition to Remember

Over 4 days, 156 students from 8 different countries spoke in an international public speaking contest held at Collingwood School from October 20th to the 23rd.

To begin the long weekend the Collingwood choir and dance team welcomed the guests with their performances at an opening ceremony. Despite the jetlag and exhaustion from a long day of traveling, the public speakers were quickly immersed into the competition; the opening day ended at 10:00pm!

The next few days were even more vibrant. Many students experienced the joy that was brought by their hard work. Gabrielle Bourgault-Kennaley, Nicole Basran and Samir Damji represented Collingwood with excellence. Most impressive was Samir Damji who made the finals in all three of his categories—interpretive reading, after dinner speech, and radio newscast—and has qualified for the World Championships.

I was fortunate to host billets from the completion. They were three seventeen-year-old boys from Reading, England. It was an interesting experience for myself and them. They told me that some of the things we had at our school gave them culture shock. For example, they found Collingwood to be more accepting of people and their differences compared to back home. Also, to their surprise no one knew about the quirky English bands that they listened to. This made one of the boys, Ali, very sad and homesick.

But the momentous event could not have happened without the countless hours of work from the Collingwood faculty and volunteers. Because of Ms. Thurea, Ms. Souza, Ms. Lyon, Ms. Green, Ms, Clarke, Ms. Piovesan, Ms Duteau, Ms. Dousett, Mr. Furlong, Mr. Pimentel and Mr. Jacoby’s efforts, this event was possible. There were many logistics to worry about, but the competition always seemed to follow schedule.

Congratulations, Collingwood, the IISPSC 2016 will definitely go down in the books as a huge success.

By: Amanda Finnie

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