2018 Grand Final: Public Speaking & Debate Competition

By Sivutha Tan, ACE Teacher

The Australian Centre for Education (ACE) designs initiatives to foster a common understanding among students. One of these is the Public Speaking & Debate (PSD) Competition, which serves as one of ACE’s flagship events, providing students with extra-curricular opportunities.

The competition is divided into four separate contests that are often hosted in conjunction with the end of an academic term. Four teams of outstanding debaters and four public speakers, as members of ACE’s Public Speaking & Debate Club, are chosen to compete in the Grand Final.

The 2018 ACE Public Speaking & Debate Competition Grand Final took place on 15 December. It brought together four dynamic debate teams, five public speakers and five contestants from ACE’s Young Learners’ (YL) Program, all of whom competed in the half-day event.

The ACE Tuol Tom Poung campus auditorium was set up with a stage and filled with an audience of teachers, parents and friends of the competitors. The motion and themes of the debate, public speaking and young learner speeches rendered the whole morning’s atmosphere lively, and nobody could be certain about who would be crowned as the champions for 2018. Presiding over the event as the judges were Ashley Irving, ACE Principal, and Robert Cunningham, ACE Lead Teacher at Tuol Kork campus.

The honourable judges

The theme of the public speaking category was corporate social responsibility (CSR) and whether such a scheme provides any major benefits to society. The debates were on refugees and migration, and the effects of foreign direct investment (FDI). The theme of the YL category was health. Each candidate was well-prepared through doing independent research and consulting their mentors during the preparation period. Finally, the judges made their decisions as to who would be crowned as the champions for 2018.

Chhay Chakrayuth emerged as the YL Speech champion. This is what he wishes to share with our readers: “It feels great to be selected and I can’t believe that I won. My speech was about how to improve your self-confidence. My advice is that we can do anything, and you can compete like me too. You just need a little confidence and to believe in yourself”.

Their excitement could not be contained as the audience burst into a loud ovation as the MC announced that Chan Phy Sreylinh was the Public Speaker winner. “When I first got on stage my legs were literally shaking, but it felt good to stand on stage and share my opinion with the audience. I was a shy girl who would never have joined this competition, but thanks to the club and all the mentors supporting me, I finally had the courage to participate”.

Ms. Chan Phy Sreylinh, the Public Speaker winner

The Debate Team Champions 2018

There were heart-pounding moments for the debate teams as it came to the announcement of the winning team of 2018, but finally, Ek Anusa, Kimheng, and Peou Khemraksa were crowned the champions! We spoke with the team after they were announced winners, and this is what they had to say: “The Grand Final round was much tougher than the previous round – we put a lot of work into preparing for this competition. My advice is to practice speaking and whatever you do, do it with passion. To know the answer, you need to get out of your comfort zone and sign yourself up for the competition. Only then will you start doing the research and get familiar with debate”.

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