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Students Articulate Passion for Nature

Students Articulate Passion for Nature

‘Blame is as toxic as the damage we have done’! A strong statement from one of the student competitors in the inaugural Speaking for the Planet inter-school speech and art competition held at Tūranga on Friday 7th June.

This speech, art and drama competition, that began in Sydney, New South Wales seven years ago, was brought to Christchurch as a joint project of Sustainable Ōtautahi Christchurch (SŌC) and the Christchurch branch of the NZ Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE). Fourteen Christchurch schools sent in their best, with many schools running their own school competition first. For this inaugural competition the organisers offered students in Years 7-13 the opportunity to either create an art work, a prepared speech, a spoken word performance or an impromptu speech using one of the two World Environment Day themes. “The plastic crisis we face is quickly spiralling out of our control. However the speakers who participated today, are a cause for hope. Each giving strong and passionate messages around air pollution and plastic pollution. With a resounding call to action, for the change that we must see in our society’. Stated the senior student Ciara Foley who won with her prepared speech.

The artwork was judged earlier in the week by Nikki Wallace-Bell, previous educator at COCA gallery and Henry Sunderland, art tutor at Ara Institute, with the winners presented with their prizes at the same time as those who placed in the oral sections. Judges for the spoken sections were led by Celina Templeman, District Director of Toastmasters International, with fellow Toastmaster Cody Harrington and ably supported by Councillor Sara Templeton in the morning and by Helen Townsend of The Rubbish Whisperer in the afternoon. The day was fast paced with MCs Megan and Oliver, students from Ara Institute, keeping the energy high throughout the day.

The calibre of the students was very high and challenged the judges to pick the winners. The final winners in each category were:
Prepared Speech Year 7-9 Portia Boyd, Our Lady of Victories School
Prepared Speech Year 10-13 Ciara Foley from Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery School
Impromptu Speech Ben Watkins, Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery
Spoken Word Holly Whittaker, Rangiora High
Visual Art Year 7-9 Evie MacDonald, Home School
Visual Art Year 10-13 Addison Drake, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School

The organisers are grateful to agencies such as the Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust and Christchurch City Libraries for the use of the TSB space. No competition could be without prize sponsors such as Flourish Inc., ReMix Plastics, The Rubbish Whisperer, The Drawing Room, Orana Wildlife Park and Ara Institute, with the premier prizes being donated by Christchurch-based clothing company, Earth Sea Sky. The Ara Institute has also offered an opportunity for students to share their speeches during their Matariki festival later this month.

For a full list of winners and examples of the art work submitted please visit http://sustainablechristchurch.org.nz/


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