Oscar's no grouch at public speaking


Once too nervous to speak in public, St Norbert College student Oscar McDonald is now among the best young public speakers in WA.

The Year 10 student won his semi-final in the Rostrum Voice of Youth Speaking Competition on May 20, securing his place among a field of six students in the WA final on June 24.

In the semi-final, the 15-year-old wowed the judging panel with his eight-minute speech on the importance of arts in society, before coming up with an outstanding impromptu three-minute speech.

“The second speech was on the key to happiness,” Oscar explained. “I talked about how we don’t need to necessarily invest our money and time into materialistic things to make us happy, we just need to follow what we love and do what we enjoy in our lives to truly be happy.”

Although satisfied with his two speeches, Oscar admits he wasn’t expecting to win the semi-final and progress to the state final. His achievement completes an incredible transformation over the past few years.

“A few years ago I absolutely could not stand up in front of anyone and talk,” he said. “Now I quite enjoy it and I think it’s something I’ll keep going with.”

Oscar credits being a part of musical performances as giving him the confidence to begin public speaking.

Oscar wasn’t the only St Norbert College student to excel in the competition, with fellow Year 10 student Aldric Ratnasekera and Year 9 student Arlene Saji also reaching the semi-final stage.

The Rostrum competition has been held annually since 1975, with more than 3,000 students participating each year around Australia.

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