Nicole and Annie wow world public speaking championships

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PLC Sydney has performed exceptionally well at this year’s World Individual Debating & Public Speaking Championship (WIDPSC), reaching the grand finals for the second year in a row and the finals for the third consecutive year.


Year 12 students Annelise McCarthy and Nicole Sung travelled to Pittsburgh, USA, as part of the Australian team, to compete across a range of speaking disciplines: Debating, Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive Speaking and Reading.


Congratulations to Nicole who was the overall winner of the Interpretative Reading section. From an initial field of 113 senior students, she delivered a flawless performance in the grand final, reading from Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisnero. This short story tells of a Mexican woman's escape from an abusive relationship and is a tribute to the tireless work of Australian domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty.


Nicole's talent was then further illustrated with her 4th world rank in Persuasive Speaking, with ‘The Price of Honour’. Nicole's speech, triggered by the Oscar award winning documentary, Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness lifted the lid on the under reported atrocity of ‘honour killings’ in countries with low levels of women's literacy.

She rounded off the evening by collecting 11th place overall in the world. Her rank was determined by the culmination of marks she achieved from the different categories in which she competed. Despite PLC Sydney's exceptional performance at previous competitions, this is the first time a student has won a category. Nicole was given a trophy made from glass and steel, which was forged and crafted in the Pittsburgh area.

Annelise McCarthy scored very highly in her rounds to achieve an overall world ranking of 26th. Annie was the third Australian to cross the finishing line for her country from a team of 12 students, drawn from Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.

In the finals, Annie delivered an evocative reading of ‘Singing My Sister Down’ which earned her an overall placing of 6th in the world in Interpretative Reading. Her performance was a fine tribute to her ability to connect imaginatively to a piece of writing, bringing both characters and words exquisitely to life. The reading of her short story describing a capital punishment, death by being drowned in tar, carried her audience on an emotional journey. Annie then performed a 'little ripper' of an After Dinner speech, where she completed her event with scores which placed her 5th equal in world. 

In addition, Annie has displayed the most encouraging demeanour towards all competitors. She has been seen sharing kind words, hugs, laughter and tears and showing exemplary sportsmanship and humility.

Many thanks must go to the four coaches who supported the girls on this journey, Mrs Lynette Hawkey, Ms Melinda Walsh, Ms Natasha Noore, and Ms Therese Bennetts, with Mrs Field teaching Annie in Speech studies over the last two years. A very big thank you also goes to Mrs Lynette Hawkey who travelled to Pittsburgh with the girls this year, and worked extremely hard with intense coaching sessions and boundless support, ensuring that the Annie and Nicole were able to give the performances of their lives.


Well done Annie and Nicole – everyone at PLC Sydney is very proud of you. 


Above (from left): Nicole Sung and Mrs Lynette Hawkey with the winning trophy for the Interpretative Reading section; Nicole and Annie take a break from competition; Annie performs in the Interpretative Reading section.


World Individual Debating & Public Speaking 2016 Rankings

1. CANADA Natalie Ganzhorn

2. CANADA Olivia Railton

3. CANADA Naz Gocek

4. CANADA Kasra Khadem

5. CANADA Armin Safavi

6. CANADA Disha Mittal

7. CANADA Elizabeth Roberts

8. SOUTH AFRICA Maya Godden

9. SOUTH AFRICA Rowan Mockler

10. USA Byung Joon Lee 

11. AUSTRALIA Nicole Sung (PLC Sydney)

12. SOUTH AFRICA Micaella Rogers

13. SOUTH AFRICA Rebecca Mqalemo

14. CANADA Helen Kosc

15. CANADA Lily Kim


16. HONG KONG Maggie Delessio

17. USA Eric Tang

18. CANADA Alek Ebbeling

19. AUSTRALIA Caitlin O'Meara

20. USA Andrew Steinberg

21. SOUTH AFRICA Alexander Peile

22. CANADA & CANADA Julie Midroni & Simran Cheema (Equal)

24. SOUTH AFRICA & SOUTH AFRICA Guy Edmondson & Matt Glasspool (Equal)

26. AUSTRALIA Annelise McCarthy (PLC Sydney)

27. CANADA Gautam Manohar

28. SOUTH AFRICA Nicolaos Tapanlis

29. CANADA Shannon Smith

30. AUSTRALIA Alexander Leptos




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