Swinburne has hosted the final of the inaugural ‘Hawthorn Voices of a Generation’, a public speaking competition for secondary school students across the Hawthorn electorate.
Each competing secondary school held their own internal competition and then selected two finalists to represent the year 7-9 or 10-12 cohorts.
The program was developed to encourage the youth of Hawthorn to discuss a topic relevant to the future of their community and nation, with finalists addressing ‘how to ensure all people have the opportunity to maximise their potential to help build a caring, respectable and prosperous community’.
The event was run by Hawthorn Member for Hawthorn, John Pesutto, with a panel of five other judges, including:
- Professor Linda Kristjanson, Vice Chancellor and President, Swinburne University of Technology
- Councillor Jim Parke, Mayor, City of Boroondara
- Ann Peacock, General Manager Community and Charity, Crown Resorts
- Andre Awadalla, Editor, Progress and Stonnington Leaders
- Georgie Harman, CEO, Beyond Blue
Councillor Jim Parke saying a few words to the competing students
Professor Kristjanson was impressed by the diverse range of talent from the competing secondary schools.
“The enthusiasm and confidence from the students was truly remarkable. To see that level of passion from a young age shows the potential in these students to become leaders in the future,” Professor Kristjanson says.
The winners of the event included Jibril Shaikh from Auburn High School, who succeeded in the 7-9 cohort and Raffeala Skourletos from Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School in the year 10-12 final.
The winners were presented with a medal and trophy from John Pesutto and the opportunity to have lunch with him at Parliament House.