Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award

Latest Competition News

Congratulations to Preethika Mathan from Santa Sabina College, who won this year's Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award State Final! Congratulations also to Ethan Zhu from The King's School who was runner up in the competition!

Well done to all of the state finalists for contributing to such a memorable final. Lani Taylor (Bulli HS), Alyssa Chong (Ascham), Tasmia Ali (Baulkham Hills HS), Aaron Rucinski (Shore), Ava Dupont (Wollongong PAHS) and Grace Ryan (Port Hacking HS). 

A video of the online final will be available to view here very soon so watch this space!!


Thanks also to Legacy NSW for their generous support. To see how Legacy NSW supports the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award, and the value the organisation places on encouraging public speaking in young people, watch this video below.

Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award Information

The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award aims to encourage the use of clear and effective spoken English. Since its inception in 1995, the competition has provided an opportunity for NSW junior secondary students to improve their confidence and to develop their speech-writing and public speaking skills. Please note that you can download this information as a PDF by clicking here.

Who is eligible to compete?

The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award is open to NSW government and non-government secondary and central schools. Each school can enter a maximum of two contestants. Contestants must be either Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia. Contestants must be 14 years of age or younger on 1 January 2020.

How do schools enter the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award?

Schools who already entered the 2020 competition before it was paused can simply email the Speaking Competitions Officer to confirm that they still wish to be involved. New entries can be submitted by clicking here and completing the online entry form before close of business on Friday 4 September 2020. Please ensure that you include contact details for the teacher who will be looking after the entry. All teachers must provide a direct email address (preferably your departmental address for government school teachers) to assist with our organisation. Teachers will then need to upload their school’s submissions by Friday 25 September.

How much does entry cost?

The entry fee for the award is $15.00 per government school student and $30.00 (including GST) per non-government school student. Government schools will automatically be debited for this amount once we receive their videos (please advise your school’s finance department that this will occur). Non-government schools will be invoiced after their video submissions have been received.

How does the competition run?

Schools will choose two representative speakers and upload videos of their prepared speeches by the deadline Friday 25 September 2020. Entries will be sorted into groups of approximately twelve. The organisers reserve the right to place students from the same school into the same group. These speeches will be adjudicated by a panel, with a maximum of four speeches chosen to progress. Each video submitted will receive a reply with some personal feedback on how to keep improving as a speaker. Chosen speakers will proceed to preliminary finals in Week 4 Term 4 and will be sent an invitation to the online platform where they will present their updated speech live. The prepared speech will again have a time limit of 5 minutes and speakers will be given a warning bell at 4 minutes, with 2 bells at 5 minutes to indicate that their time has expired. A continuous bell will be rung if the speaker exceeds the time limit by more than 30 seconds. At this level, speakers will also prepare and deliver an impromptu speech on a topic given to them on the day. In this section, speakers will be given 5 minutes to prepare for a 2-minute speech. A warning bell will be rung at 1minute 30 seconds, with 2 bells at 2 minutes and a continuous bell if the speaker exceeds the time limit by more than 30 seconds. From these preliminary finals speakers will be chosen to progress to the state final in Week 6 of Term 4, which will again be conducted via a live online platform.

What are the speaking and filming requirements?

For the first round, contestants need to write and record a video of their prepared speech. That speech can be on any subject they choose, with a time limit of 5 minutes. If speakers progress to the next level, there will be a warning bell at 4 minutes, two bells at 5 minutes and a continuous bell if the speaker exceeds the maximum time by more than 30 seconds, so it is important that contestants are aware of this and do their best to adhere to the time limit in their initial submission. Ideally the video would be a shot of the student from the knees to the top of their head, but the judges won’t be taking into account the filming, framing or lighting – just the writing of the speech and the manner and style of the actual speaker. It’ll be fine if the video is shot on any device and/or format that is easiest. Speakers are not required to deliver an impromptu speech in the first round. 

What are the adjudicators looking for?

The adjudicators will make their decision based on the matter, manner and method the contestants employ in presenting their speeches. They will expect contestants to be confident and engaging speakers. The speeches themselves should be developed logically to a convincing conclusion in the time allowed. The adjudicators will in particular be looking for knowledge of the subject matter, skilful development of the theme and the effective use of plain English. Successful contestants are also expected to demonstrate a balance of personal opinion and information in their speeches, as well as a balance of humour and sincerity. 

What are the rules of the competition?

Other than the eligibility criteria and speaking times detailed above, it should also be noted that contestants are not allowed to use any props or external aids such as Powerpoint presentations during their speeches – it really does just need to be a 5-minute long shot of the contestant speaking. They are encouraged to speak from palm cards and must not have anything like a lectern in front of them. Finally, a reminder that there are no restrictions on the subject of the speech, though speakers should consider the Legacy values (listed below) and how one of these might fit within the broader context of the thought-provoking and engaging topic they have chosen to address. Finally, once speakers progress past the first round and the impromptu section is added, all contestants in a final will receive the same impromptu topic.

What are the prizes?

The NSW winner will receive the winners’ medallion and a prize courtesy of Sydney Legacy, and the NSW winner’s school will receive a perpetual trophy. State finalists will receive a medallion and prize, also courtesy of Sydney Legacy. All students involved in the competition will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation. Certificates of congratulations will be awarded to all local and regional winners.

Organisation and sponsorship

The competition is organised by The Arts Unit of the NSW Department of Education and is proudly sponsored by Sydney Legacy. The Legacy values are:
• voluntary service
• social justice
• caring
• personal effort
• personal sacrifice
• mateship

What is Legacy?

Legacy is an Australian charity dedicated to supporting the families of Australian Defence Force Veterans who gave their lives or health.

Legacy is there for the long term, providing caring, compassionate support for these families through pension advocacy, assisting with access to financial advice, counselling, medical or accommodation and social support. Legacy is committed to nurturing children’s education by contributing towards school fees, books, uniforms, and recreational activities to aid their self-development and confidence.

The need for Legacy today is very real. Since 1999 almost 60,000 veterans have been created and Legacy stands ready to support their families if needed. For more information about Legacy visit www.legacy.com.au, call 1800 LEGACY and follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com.au/LegacySydney.

Contact details

If you have any questions about the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award, please contact Justine Clarke, Speaking Competitions Officer on (02) 8512 1172 or email: justine.clarke@det.nsw.edu.au

Who are the past winners of the competition?

Congratulations again to Nikki Han from Queenwood who won the 2019 NSW final at an event in the Domain Theatre of the Art Gallery of NSW on Monday 21 October. Congratulations also to the seven other state finalists, who were Rebekah Cooper (Crestwood High School), Chloe Hoang (Pymble Ladies' College), Brendon Lambert (Georges River College Peakhurst Campus), Mia Seisun (Reddam House), Lani Taylor (Bulli High School), Nickie Tran (Sarah Redfern High School) and Megan Wang (Abbotsleigh). A list of previous winners of the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award is available here, and below is the video of the 2019 state final. If you prefer you can click here and you'll be taken to Vimeo to watch the final. There you'll have more options like being able to download the video or jump between speakers by clicking on their times. Congratulations on behalf of The Arts Unit to everyone involved in making the final such a brilliant event!