Twelve Primary Schools from across the Manly electorate were represented at the Bear Pit Public Speaking Competition finals at the Parliament of New South Wales last Friday, which took place for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The competition, first held in 2009 as the brainchild of former Balgowlah North Primary School Principal Vicki Treble and former Member for Manly Mike Baird, includes class, year, and school level competitions to develop public speaking skills of all students in the Manly electorate.

The competition derives its name from the often loud and raucous NSW Parliament which has been nicknamed the ‘Bear Pit’. The students are seated on the Government benches and speak from the floor of the Parliament, the same way the Premier or a Minister would during a session of Parliament.

Member for Manly James Griffin said the Bear Pit Public Speaking Competition 2022 was an enormous success and is an exciting way to encourage confidence in young students.

“It has been my pleasure to host the best public speakers from local primary schools at NSW Parliament after a two-year hiatus,” Mr Griffin said.

“The continuing success of the competition after thirteen years is a true testament to the hard work of students, parents, our volunteer adjudicators, and of course our hard-working teachers."

Member for Manly James Griffin said the quality of speeches from all 24 participants was outstanding and congratulates all students on their efforts.

“I wish to congratulate winners Aliyah and Ella from Manly West Public School, and runners-up Matisse from St Mary’s and Sophie from Balgowlah Heights,” Mr Griffin said.

“I cannot even begin to share how proud I am of all the students. They did an amazing job, and our future is in safe hands.”

This year’s winners and runners-up were decided by a decorated panel of adjudicators made up of Pauline Gilchrist, Speechcraft Chair of the District 70 & 90 Toastmasters, Diana Iles, founder and former director of the Sydney University Centre for English Teaching, Margaret Lewis, former primary school Principal and Education Standards Inspector, and Charlotte Rimmer, President of the Manly Business Chamber and Manly Local Woman of the Year.

Stage 2 Winner - Aliyah Gannon, Manly West Public School
Stage 2 Runner-up - Matisse Moreau, St Mary’s Catholic School Manly
Stage 3 Winner - Ella Barnett, Manly West Public School
Stage 3 Runner-up - Sophie Mooring, Balgowlah Heights Public School