Four girls’ colleges shared the O’Shea Shield and the Viard Cup in the 62nd rendition of the tightly fought annual public speaking contest last month. Sacred Heart New Plymouth and St Catherine’s Kilbirnie tied for the Viard Cup and Sacred Heart Lower Hutt and Sacred Heart Napier, this year’s hosts, were the winners of the O’Shea Shield.
St Patrick’s College, Wellington, and St Peter’s College, Palmerston North, tied for third and St Patrick’s, Silverstream, took fourth place.
In a grand celebration of Catholic education in the two dioceses, the O’Shea Shield continued to provide tough competition in such areas as debating, religious questions, junior prepared speech, oratory, religious drama, scripture reading and impromptu speaking.
The weekend of May 17 and 18 began with a powhiri in the college’s gymnasium during which Sacred Heart principal, Steve Bryan, welcomed the 17 competing schools saying that, though they were different schools, they shared the same values and beliefs.
‘Let us celebrate the talents that our heavenly father has bestowed on us.’
Referring to the longevity of the contest, the host’s head girl, Jessica Oosthuizen, reminded competitors that ‘what lies behind us and in front of us are tiny compared with what lies within us’.
The debating started the competition with schools lining up their teams on either side of the moot, ‘that the welfare state has sapped the initiative of the people’.
St Peter’s College team won the St Catherine’s Cup for the best negative debating team with St Catherine’s winning the St Mary’s Cup for the best affirmative team.
St Mary’s and Sacred Heart, Napier, won the religious questions section on their knowledge of the latest papal encyclical Spe Salvi.
St Patrick’s College Wellington’s David Fagaloa won the Cardinal McKeefry Cup for Oratory with a speech in which he shared his life in Cannon’s Creek and reflected on Porirua as the great social experiment of the 1970s.
St Catherine’s won the Bishop Cullinane Cup for Oratory.
The Religious Drama was hotly contested in a packed Napier Boys High School hall on Saturday night. Teams were asked to dramatise a verse from the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’.
Judges Gillian Davies and Lisa Jane Hay found all performances ‘outstanding’.
‘We hope more theatre of this kind can be used in schools. We need for young people to realise the power their ideas can bring and change us.’
Gillian Davies said that the winning performance from Garin was several notches above the rest.
‘The theme, message, and performance moved and captivated us.’
It was a total package, strong, vital using dancing, song, mime and silence to stunning effect.
Runners up, Sacred Heart, Napier was a ‘compelling, simple portrayal filled with integrity.
Sunday’s competitions took place at St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College.
St Mary’s won the Catherine McAuley Cup for Scripture Reading in Section A while Sacred Heart, New Plymouth took the St Peter Chanel Cup for Section B.
St Catherine’s won the Jubilee Cup for Impromptu Speaking for section A while Sacred Heart, Lower Heart won the Silverstream Cup for section B.
After Mass in St Mary’s, Taradale, Bishop Peter Cullinane presented prizes and Sacred Heart College Napier principal Steve Bryan then handed over the Jubilee Plaque to next year’s hosts, St Mary’s DRS, Judy Houlahan and head girl, Katie Stevens accepted the host candle.
Pictures: top: Sacred Heart Lower Hutt and Sacred Heart Napier preparing to accept the O’Shea Shield. Top left: Logan Beasley, winner of the Vaughan Family Cup for junior prepared speech. Middle right: Abby Roberts of Sacred Heart, New Plymouth delivering her oratory on the aged – ‘Give old age a run for its money – be a real hero.’ Middle left: Winner of the Cardinal McKeefry Cup for Oratory, David Fagaloa of St Patrick’s College, Kilbirnie, with his family and coach, Halina McDonald, who won the same cup for St Catherine’s in 1975. Bottom right: The religious drama team from Garin College, Nelson, Abby James, Megan Lewis, Sam Tamihana-Barr and Patrick McGrath, winners of the Bishop Owen Snedden Memorial Cup for Drama. Bottom left: Hiwaru Paku during his impromptu speech. He did not win but kept the audience fully engaged and entertained in his piece on laughter.