The Speech Contest is an Annual Event tasked by the English Department at PNG Paradise High School. This year 2011 the event was set for September 2. A committee comprising of Mathematics and English Department was formed purposely to coordinate the distribution and follow up of the invitation letters for the two major events – Mathletics for Mathematics Department and Speech Contest for English Department.  Twenty two schools were invited for the Speech Contest, but only eleven schools participated. Schools were sent the list of topics for the Speech Contest from which the schools conducted their competition, and then sent in their contestants’ details for the Inter-school Speech Contest. 
Topics for the Event
1. Cloning is good for the world.
2. Polygamy must be made to be a crime in PNG.
3. The development of the rural areas is the answer to urban migration.
4. The school uniforms should be done away with in schools.
5. Lamb flaps should be banned from being imported into PNG.
6. All logging companies should be banned from operating in PNG.
7. Guardians of disabled persons or young children should be prosecuted if these people are put to be begging on the streets.
8. Chewing betel nut should be banned.
9. Rich countries should help develop the 3rd world countries.
10. Tradition verses modernity. People in developing countries tend to give up their tradition when they get richer.
11. Military involvement is the way to solve world problems.
12. Nuclear energy is the energy source into the future.
13. Carbon trade is the answer to deforestation.
14. World leaders should strive to recognize the struggle of indigenous people for recognition. (Aborigines/West Papua etc)
15. Crop breeding is an essential element of agriculture to meet the challenge of an increasing world population and the changing climate. (Innovative ideas are important in agriculture to meet the challenge of an increasing world population and the changing climate.)
16. Smoking should be completely banned in enclosed areas.
17. The move to conserve environment will hinder economic progress in many countries.
18. There is a need for people to carry firearms for security purposes in PNG.
19. Military expenses should not be the first priority for any country.
20. PNG should reassess its LOOK-NORTH-POLICY and create a range of partnerships with other countries apart from Asia.
21. News reporters should avoid the deformation of characters.
22. One child policy should be introduced in PNG.
 
After many weeks of preparation of researching, compiling their notes into presentable material and rehearsing their speeches the participants finally met to contest against each other at the host school –PNG Paradise High School.
There were eleven schools, all from the National Capital District that participated in the Speech Contest. The students delivered their speeches on topics that range from topics on national issues to global issues such as Banning of Betel nut Chewing and The Development of Rural Areas being the Answer to Urban Migration in Papua New Guinea (PNG) which are subjects of national concerns, to a global concern like the World Leaders who should Strive to Recognize the Struggle of Indigenous People for Recognition.  Each participant was allowed only five (5) minutes to deliver their speech which was done according to the judging criteria one of which was talking to the audience (keeping the eye contact with the audience) during the delivery of speech. This is a useful skill to master having not to read from the prepared speech but to use only the notes on the palm cards. The actual preparation for the speech contest has been a mammoth task for the students having to balance the researching, compiling, and rehearsing tasks with their school work.
Nevertheless, the speech contest held in public like this amongst their fellow students from other schools in Port Moresby outside the four walls of their classrooms is a beneficial experience to the students. There is no doubt that these participants have gained confidence from the contest where they have exercised applying critical thinking in processing information and applying correct English usage in a formal context. Another vital skill that in this contest the students had to apply is quoting another person’s work, acknowledging the source so as to avoid plagiarism.  The skills of public speaking did not only benefit the presenters in gaining confidence but also their fellow students in the audience who may have felt impressed by the speeches presented.
Besides teachers and students from the host school –PNG Paradise High School and the invited schools, there were also the invited guests. These were the  Dean of Education Faculty from Pacific Adventist University (PAU), Pro-Vice Chancellor from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), and Media Personnel from the Law and Justice Sector–Mr. Joe Kanekane who spoke highly of the event a better way of grooming students who would be the  future leaders of this nation.
Of course in any contest there is always a ranking order in placing the contestants according to their performance. In this year 2011 Speech Contest every one who contested is a winner in their own right and is commended for their bravery shown. For their bravery, enthusiasm and participation all the contestants were awarded with a certificate of participation, while their teachers were awarded a certificate of appreciation – the host school’s token of appreciation to them for contributing to the success of the event. The highlight of the prizes awarded were the first three winners of the Speech Contest. The first place was taken by Port Moresby International School student who was awarded a first prize comprising of a note book computer, a gold medal and a certificate of achievement, the second place was given to Charles Luanga Catholic School student whose prize comprised of a digital camera, a silver medal and a certificate of achievement ,and the third place was given to Salvation Army Secondary School whose prize consisted of K200.00 cash, bronze medal and a certificate of achievement.
The Speech Contest is an annual event on PNG Paradise High School Academic calendar and since its inception three years ago, the quality of speeches presented are becoming better with regards to the skills used in researching, compiling information and the actual presentation of speech.
It is our firm belief at PNG Paradise High School that every child has the potential to develop and what better way to assist a child to develop his communicating skills than to expose them to an avenue such as the public speaking competition in a friendly and a learning environment.
Who knows among those participated in this year’s speech contest there could be a Winston Church Hill, Martin Luther King, or a Ghandi who could be a mouth piece for the unfortunate or the disadvantaged Papua New Guineans in future.
 
Report by
Ms Elaine Sari
English Department (HOD)