Halls Head Primary School students speak their minds

SPEAKING OUT: Halls Head PS students Sara Chaudhry, Isabel de Silva and Billy Burnside speak their minds. Photo: Supplied
SPEAKING OUT: Halls Head PS students Sara Chaudhry, Isabel de Silva and Billy Burnside speak their minds. Photo: Supplied

Halls Head Primary School students were encouraged to speak their mind to their teachers in the lead up to the 2018 Speak Up Awards. 

The Speak Up Awards encourage primary school children to discuss meaningful topics by performing speeches for an audience and panel of judges.

Halls Head Primary School had more than 100 children audition for the event.

The school’s performing arts teacher, Sian Dhu, said the students were given a lot of freedom during the task.

“We placed a lot of trust in our students and gave them very few topic limits,” Dhu said.

“They were encouraged to create a speech based on anything they felt passionate about – and the results gave a fascinating look in to the mind set of our student body.”

Dhu said topics varied from thought-provoking discussion on the damaging nature of expectations, environmental issues and Government, to fun debates about art, gender, and even wigs.

“Public speaking has a terrifying stigma attached to it,” Dhu said.

“Through our involvement in Speak Up, we wanted to show our students that it can be a fun and powerful tool to be heard”.

Three HHPS children – Sara Chaudhry, Billy Burnside and Isabel de Silva – were selected to represent the school at the State Speak Up Awards heats on August 21. 

Billy Burnside was rewarded for speaking his mind to adults, having been selected to represent the Peel Region in the WA Preliminary State finals for the 2018 Speak Up Awards.

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Billy’s speech, titled Plastic Earth, warns of the waste-filled future his generation faces if current plastic use trends continue.

“If we don’t change our current plastic disposal habits, by the year 2050 plastic will out-weight fish in the ocean pound for pound,” Billy’s speech warned.

“So when I go fishing with my kids, we won’t be pulling out blowies… We’ll be fishing out lots of plastic bottles.”

Billy competed against schools from Mandurah, Rockingham and Baldivis to win a place in the finals.

Halls Head Primary Performing Arts Teacher, Sian Dhu, said Billy was one of the youngest students to compete in the tournament.

“Billy competed against mostly Year 6 students,” Dhu said.

“It just goes to show that public speaking can be a powerful medium for expressing ideas even in very young people”.

The Speak Up Award Preliminary State final took place recently and although Billy was not selected as a winner, he did an amazing job to get that far.