Senior Students Public Speaking – December 9th 2011 – St. Kevin’s College
By Carmel Lynch
The Innovative poster campaign by Chris O’Reilly a Photography student in St. Kevin’s College saw the entries for this years 5CC Senior Public Speaking final almost double students from Whitehall College, Pathways, Crumlin College, Ballsbridge College, St. Kevin’s College & Colaiste Ide addressed the house in a major blitz In Studio 22, St. Kevin’s College on December 9th.
Social issues, mental health, the Internet, education and the recession featured heavily in this year’s competition with a rousing celebration of the presidency by Marian Murray (St. Kevin’s College) to mark the year that’s in it.
Aaron Kavanagh (St. Kevin’s College) opened the show with a very quirky take on the pressures of Public Speaking.
Frank Allen in one of his legendary summations congratulated all the students for capturing so uniquely the pulse of 2011. He described the event as the most challenging for all those who participated and the highlight of our Cultural calendar.
There was poignancy this year in the incisiveness of young people dealing with the varied challenges of mental health issues with Darren Scully (Colaiste Ide) receiving a very special award for his speech on “Mindfullness”. There was hope also as some of the more mature contestants like Eamon Cummins (St. Kevin’s College) presented the strength of recovery earning him a special award. Patricia Keamey Ryan (St. Kevin’s College) came third in the “Liam Arundel Cup” competition U.25 for her powerful decimation of an educational system that marks out the winners and losers from an early age. Her speech was her own personal triumph and an affirmation of how brilliance can slip through the cracks.
Joy Hall (Inchicore College) repeated last year’s success by taking second place with her rousing speech to the youth of Ireland to get over themselves and consider how lucky they are. However, the Liam Arundel Cup returned this year to St. Kevin’s College in the person of Jake Parker for his subtle view of “The sun as a Shakespearean tragedy”.
Mike Bors (St. Kevin’s College) championed the cause of “The Introvert” in society earning him third place in the Jonathan Philbin Bowman Cup with such powerful use of the pause. Leone Marshall (Whitehall College) was beaten into 2 place by a mere point for her punchy presentation on the very topical issue of “Child Benefit”. The Jonathan Philbin Bowman Cup however went for the first time this year to Crumlin College in the person of Kathy Bond under the tutelage of Anne Cassidy for her superb review of all things 2011.
The speakers received a standing ovation and were all presented with commemorative tokens and certification by the SCC. Frank Allen presented all the winners with the relevant cups, cut glass trophies, certs and vouchers. It was then time for Carmel Lynch to turn the spotlight on Frank himself – the founder of VEC Public Speaking with Eileen Clancy back in 1982. As Frank is retiring this year, she spoke of his energy and his contribution to all things cultural for almost 3 decades. She described Frank as an inspiration to us all and bemoaned the absolute void his going would leave in the VEC. She recalled great afternoons of Public Speaking in the Prisons with Ann Doyle and Jonathan Philbin Bowman in the chair organised by Frank and she referred to his brilliant summaries that we all came to hear. She concluded by presenting him with a collection of the “Best Irish Speeches” edited by Colm Toibin. “Pro Photo Studios” directed by Tony Kidd & Chris O’Reilly (St. Kevin’s College) captured the show for posterity while Michael Collier and is 2d year Media team did likewise on video.