On Thursday 2nd June 2022, another group of Sixth Formers enjoyed the hospitality of the Master and Mrs Stevens at Lectern Club. Being the last Lectern Club of this academic year, it was centred around an imaginative theme, “If I ruled the world.” Standing at the lectern were six talented orators who each delivered unique takes on the topic including their hopes, visions and goals for the world. There were three speeches in each category: short and long speeches.
This time, the Lectern Club featured a welcoming speech delivered by our previous winner, Amelia Abdul Alim who was also one of the guest judges that evening. Having been bitten by the public speaking bug (as Mrs Stevens calls it), Amelia delivered a short speech highlighting the overlooked #ScientistRebellion protest and brought awareness to the risk of catastrophic climate effects if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t cut by 2025. Before letting her peers take over the world, she reminded them to ‘keep one foot to the ground’ and asked the question, “Can you really rule the world, if there isn’t even one to begin with?”
The Lectern Club then opened its podium to our first speaker of the day, Wan Makhzanah with her interpretative title “Eq2” which received multiple interpretations such as “energy times charge squared” by Justin Lavigne, another guest judge, and “emotional intelligence” from Amelia. Proving them wrong, Wan brought a clever twist to her speech by talking about gender equality. With thorough research into the gender pay gap in New Zealand, Wan concluded her advocacy with a confident, conversational tone and emphasised that “equity is the way to equality”.
Continuing the momentum afterwards was Sora Hokonohara who delivered an emotionally engaging speech about “The Least Fortunate People.” He brought attention to the detention of refugees and asylum seekers whose mental health deteriorated due to harsh immigration policies imposed by certain state actors. Sora made sure to reach his audience’s heart by maintaining a serious but passionate tone throughout the speech while also diligently utilising the various key concepts in global politics. As a ruler, Sora planned to establish a system obligating the more privileged society to aid the less fortunate people in the world.
Wrapping up the short speeches of the day, “Oliver Wright: The Benevolent Dictator” charmed his audience with a genuine but witty speech outlining his own principles as a ruler. With references to religious allusions and quotes from the Qur’an as well as the Bible, Ollie took the challenge to successfully transform a numerical structure into an engaging list, impressing the judges. As he immersed himself in the speech, Oli managed to convince the audience of his earnest understanding of the topic and at the same time, portrayed the qualities and potential to become a world leader, or at least a benevolent dictator.
After our extremely filling and delicious main course, Ren Khaw opened the long speeches with his thoughtful and revealing oration on the unique stance of a ruler of the world. Firstly, how there would be no issue of conflicting interests and short terms of office causing goals and pledges to be pushed to their successors. Instead of being in a “popularity contest,” the ruler would be able to focus on combating mankind’s greatest threat: climate change, leading to the title of his speech, “To ensure there is a world to rule.” Following the United Nations Strategic Development Goals, he conveyed the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, while also adopting a long term view that evokes generational change – living mindfully within our means. He passionately expressed the paramount priority of Earth and its inhabitants to leave behind better lives and a custodianship of our world.
Next to take hold of the lectern was Alison Wang who candidly gave us her opinion on how people should treat others; they should be less judgemental. She cleverly, though surprisingly, addressed the judges sitting in front of her as she was speaking this line. Through the philosophy of “idealistic realism,” she said we can “see people as people, and not problems.” In a conversational, confident tone, Alison creatively showed us how a leader should adopt said philosophy as it gives their compatriots an idealistic vision but should undertake it in a pragmatic way.
The final speaker of the night was Sophia Riaz, and her speech titled, “When we rule the world.” This excellent speech was characterised by many unexpected turns. Anyone who read her title assumed she was going to leap into reciting some socialist manifesto, especially after telling us that “sharing is better.” However, Sophia went on to tell us why she would “not remove the selfish nature of humans.” When paired with cleverly thought out structure, her many creative and witty anecdotes, ranging from Samuel Johnson and a particularly devious act during the previous Lectern Club, she confidently demonstrated to us the importance of placing yourself first.
This instance of Lectern Club was noted for being an exceptional one. All the speeches were characterised by excellent deliveries and creative content. Oliver Wright was the winner of the short speeches as his structure of listing his principles – much like Machiavelli’s The Prince – was deemed very clever by the judges. For the long speeches, Sophia Riaz was the winner, with her witty and well chosen anecdotes which successfully support her points on human selfishness. All the speakers demonstrated an amazing ability for oration, which is an extremely valuable skill, especially in an ever more connected world, where having your ideas heard by others in a coherent manner can be the most powerful weapon one can possess.
Thank you, Mr and Mrs Stevens for the opportunity to judge at the Lectern club.
Justin Lavigne and Amelia Abdul Alim