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Coolum High Student to Speak at Parliament House

6/12/2015

Coolum State High School student Sarina Petersen has finished second in this year’s UN Youth Voice State Grand Finals in Brisbane, winning her the privilege to present a speech at Parliament House in Canberra!

Competing against 80 other Year 7 and 8 students from across the state, the 13 year old was one of three students selected for the fully paid trip to the country’s capital to participate in four days of workshops and coaching sessions with United Nations speakers and inspirational guest speakers.

She will then work with other winners to prepare a speech which she will deliver in Parliament House during the Easter school holidays in 2016, a task she says she will relish!

“I realised I loved public speaking in grade 2, it’s about knowing that my voice is being heard,” she said.

UN Youth Voice is a national public speaking event for students in Years 7 to 10. Unlike other public speaking competitions, UN Youth Voice asks contestants to present their innovative solutions to some of the world’s most prominent and pressing issues.

“I spoke on how our political heads should listen to the voices and ideas of Australian youth.”

“It was quite surreal coming second, I couldn’t fathom that I had made it that far. It was very exciting,” she said.

For the national finals, students are invited to select an issue about which they are most passionate from four provided topics, and then present it through a prepared speech with a judges’ ‘question time’ component.

The competition encourages initiative and sustainability, rewarding substance in speeches as well as speaking manner and structure.