Cornish College Year 12 student Tierney Khan has been named the 2020 Victorian State Champion in the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s Plain English Speaking Awards.
Tierney beat five other finalists from a field of about 200 competitors to take the title with her prepared speech, Not Another Speech About Feminism, which moved one of the judges to tears. Each finalist was also given just four minutes to prepare an impromptu two to three-minute speech on the topic It’s Time.
Tierney said it was important in public speaking to be honest, to have something meaningful to say and to genuinely care about your subject, and the key to success was getting the audience to understand and empathise with what you had to say even if they couldn’t directly relate to the topic.
Cornish College principal Nicola Forrest praised Tierney’s speech. “Through finding the courage to speak about an issue she is passionate about, she has set a great example for others to do the same,” Ms Forrest said. “We are extremely proud of her for inspiring others and encouraging them to make a difference.”
A date for the national competition has yet to be announced, but Tierney has been invited to speak at The Wheeler Centre, a literary and publishing centre founded as part of Melbourne’s bid to be a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. The centre is a leading institution for the art of conversation and a champion of the transformative power of informed public discussion and debate.