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The Turmoils of Primary School Speech Finals


Written by Brodie Hunter (he/him) @brodiehunter01 | Contributing Writer

For many students, school speeches are a threat looming in the not-so-far distance, a nightmare only Satan himself could have conjured up. The idea of being forced to stand in front of all your peers and give a 5-minute speech on some topic is terrifying to most, and it doesn’t make it any better when you only wrote it 12 hours earlier cause you couldn’t be fucked writing it sooner. Just saying.

I, on the other hand, have always welcomed Satan with open arms. Speeches have always been an opportunity for me to stand up, take charge of an audience and be the centre of attention for at least the next 5 minutes. My mission has always been unwavering: to entertain my fellow peers and prove to everyone that I am the king of speeches!

The first time I got into the speech finals was in year 8. Habits was the theme I had chosen, and I have to say, it was to this day the funniest thing I have ever, and will ever, write. I did so well that I got the entire class laughing - even the teacher! It was clear I would be the class representative to go to the speech finals. I remember bursting with confidence: while everyone else would be talking about boring topics like “How Electricity Works” or “The Water Cycle”, my speech would prevent them from falling asleep completely. I’d show them that speeches could be informative and funny.

Then along came Harriet - my future speech rival and the winner of every speech competition so far. Harriet had chosen to do her speech on “The Meaning of Life” - like she was some ancient Greek philosopher in a 12-year-old’s body. It was just as long and boring as you think, so I thought I had this one in the bag. The crowd would be bored, the judges would snooze off, and when I took my turn to speak, I could revive the audience from their deep slumber. I could almost hear my name, chanted by the entire year group: “Brodie! Brodie! Brodie!” Wiping tears of joy from their eyes, the judges would announce the winner (me), and I would lift the trophy so, so high.

Well, that would’ve been nice. Unfortunately, once again, arch-nemesis Harriet had her way with the crowd, and our modern-day Socrates pulled out a win for the millionth year in a row. I was gutted. I fumbled the bag and now I had to wait till next year to try again. Fast-forward to the year after and the same scenario played out again! Harriet serenaded the audience with her colourful use of language features, and I yearned for redemption. However, despite my efforts, it never went in my favour. She-who-shall-not-be-named won the year after that and the year after that. Not the next year though, because she changed schools. Although, I still lost to her chosen successor - always the bridesmaid, never the bride, I guess. To this day I will forever chase that dream of being the speech champion of my school and the prestige that goes with it. The chants of my name still keep some fires in my heart alive, but somehow I don’t think they’d let me compete, seeing as I am no longer a student there. Maybe I should give the man downstairs a call after all.

Illustration by Stella Roper (they/she) @dodofrenzy | Arts & Culture Editor


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