Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award

Latest Competition News

Entries in the 2021 Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award are now open! The plan is to get back to a format with both a prepared and impromptu speech at every level of the competition, and to hold local finals at host schools with in-person speaking (though of course we'll need to keep competing online as an option in case circumstances change). You can find out more about the competition and how to enter below.

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 the 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. Last year necessitated a different approach to giving students the opportunity to speak up, but we’re happy to welcome you back to a more traditional format in 2021 that includes both prepared and impromptu speeches delivered live at every stage of the competition. Please note that we will respond quickly to health advice, so the following information is subject to change if required to protect all participants and their schools.

2021 Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award Information (PDF 127 KB)

What are the prizes?

The NSW winner will receive a medallion and cash prize courtesy of Sydney Legacy, and the NSW winner’s school will receive a perpetual trophy. State finalists will receive a medallion and a cash prize 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.

Who is eligible to compete?

The Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award is open to NSW public schools and non-government secondary schools. Each school can enter a maximum of 2 contestants. Contestants must be either Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia. Contestants must have been 14 years of age or younger on 1 January 2021.

How do schools enter the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award?

Schools need to complete the online entry forms for all our speaking competitions. Entries should be submitted before close of business on Thursday 22 April 2021. 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 NSW public school teachers) to assist with our organisation.

How much does entry cost?

The entry fee for the award is $28.00 per public school student and $56.00 (including GST) per non-government school student. NSW public schools will automatically be debited for this amount once they submit their entry form (please advise your school’s finance department that this will occur). Non-government schools will be invoiced after their entries have been received. Please note that fees are due on entry and cannot be refunded even where students subsequently withdraw.

What are the speaking requirements?

At each stage of the competition students present both a prepared speech and an impromptu speech. There are no restrictions on the subject matter, though speakers should consider the Legacy values and how one of these might fit within the broader context of the thought-provoking and engaging topic they have chosen to address. Legacy’s values are voluntary service, social justice, caring, personal effort, personal sacrifice and mateship. The speaking time for the prepared speech is 5 minutes with a warning bell at 4 minutes, two bells at 5 minutes and a continuous bell at 6 minutes. The impromptu speech is on a subject chosen by the adjudicator. Contestants receive 5 minutes of preparation time to write their impromptu speech. The speaking time for the impromptu speech is 2 minutes with a warning bell at 1 ½ minutes, two bells at 2 minutes, and a continuous bell at 3 minutes.

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. They are encouraged to speak from palm cards and must present without the use of a lectern or microphone. In the impromptu section, all contestants in a final will receive the same impromptu topic. Contestants are not required to reference a Legacy value in this section. Finally, note that speakers are expected to finish at or just beyond the official speaking time. It will be considered poor timing to reach the continuous bell.

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. Finally, adjudicators will give equal consideration to the prepared and impromptu speeches in making their decision.

How does the competition run?

Schools may conduct their own internal competition to select 2 representatives for the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award. At the beginning of Term 2, the Speaking Competitions Officer will then advise all contestants of the date and venue of their local final which will be held between Tuesday 13 July and Friday 30 July 2021 (Term 3 Weeks 1-3). Every attempt will be made to hold face-to-face local finals with online finals facilitated if necessary. The winners of all local finals across the state will proceed to regional finals which will be held at or hosted online at The Arts Unit, Lewisham from Monday 23 August to Monday 30 August. Regional winners will proceed to the state semi-finals which will be held at NSW Parliament House on Friday 17 September. There will be 4 contestants from each semi-final chosen to proceed to the state final at the Art Gallery of NSW on Monday 18 October. The national final will be held in Adelaide in November.

What is Legacy?

Sydney Legacy is proud to sponsor this competition. Legacy is an Australian charity dedicated to supporting the families of Australian Defence Force veterans who gave their lives or health in service. 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 legacy.com.au, call 1800 LEGACY and follow us on Facebook facebook.com.au/LegacySydney.

Contact details

If you have any questions about the competition 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 to Preethika Mathan from Santa Sabina College on being crowned the 2020 Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award champion. A list of previous winners of the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award is available here, and below is the video of the 2020 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!