Patrick Connolly won the national final of Rostrum Voice of Youth.
Patrick Connolly won the national final of Rostrum Voice of Youth. Renee Pilcher

Silky speaking skills

GYMPIE'S Patrick Connolly represented Queensland in the Rostrum Voice of Youth national finals and won.

The Year 11 St Patrick's College student went up against the best young speaker of each state of Australia with his prepared speech, Risk Worth Taking.

This followed Patrick's success in winning the junior national title in 2010.

This year's national final of the high school public speaking competition was held in Hobart at the end of July.

Patrick was invited to attend Government House for an official reception with the Governor of Tasmania and brought home the winner's trophy and the perpetual shield, on display at his school.

Patrick won over the Rostrum judges with his witty and charming speech about rugby union. He was given five title prompters to choose from and picked A Risk Worth Taking to prepare his eight-minute speech for the final.

And what is the secret to his public speaking success?

Talking about a topic he can easily relate to, he says.

"A lot of people take the angle of being informative, but then they have less chance of connecting with the audience," he said. "I talk about something I can relate to, from my experience."

A decade of studying speech and drama lessons has paid off for Patrick, who clearly has a knack for delivering a good line or two. He recently displayed his acting ability as the court jester in St Patrick's College production, Henry, and is looking at a career in musical theatre once he graduates from high school.

"I encourage all high school students to do Rostrum," he said. "Regardless of how well you do or how far you go, there is a lot to learn from it. It's character building."

Gympie Times


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