Dazzling performances by Plunket College students

March 12, 2019

Nelson Mandela, a great exponent of education, said “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

Plunket College of Further Education students have done him proud by giving outstanding performances at the Nelson Mandela International Public Speaking Competition held by the SCC in the Teachers’ Club on the 13th February 2019

Fatima Contreiras was the outright winner of the Nelson Mandela Cup for her exceptional performance of her speech aptly titled “Skin Deep”.  Her fellow student Jakub Cialek followed suit by coming second in the Public Speaking Competition with his wonderful speech on the now very controversial issue of climate change suitably titled “Planetary Emergency”. An equally impressive speech was performed by Sofia Rodriguez Devesa fittingly titled “Birth Lottery”.

All of these students are attending a course in English Language with Business and IELTS Preparation QQI Level 5 in Plunket College of Further Education.

Fatima spoke about her icon Nelson Mandela, who himself a refugee, having spent decades in prison, became the first democratically elected President of South Africa. Mandela was a great exponent of education who said that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Fatima declared that we as a nation should not allow ourselves to be defined by labels. She supported this belief by quoting the poet Richard Williams:

“I’m not black, you are not white”

“Who would you be if the world never gave you a label?

Never gave you a box to check

Would you be White? Black? Mexican? Asian?

Native American? Middle Eastern? Indian?

No we would be one, we would be together.”

 Jakub Cialek took second place in the competition discussing the impact of climate change on our planet which is now considered to be a planetary emergency.

His opening comments created a storm when he asked the audience what they would do if he told them that the human race is going to be extinct.

Jakub declared that people might think that this sounded like a sci-fi movie but in fact it is a very real possibility unless each and every person and each and every nation take a stand together and act quickly to solve the crisis.  He concluded his speech with two very insightful questions: Future generations will ask us one of two possible questions.  The first could be “why didn’t you act?  Or the second could be “How did you find the courage to resolve a crisis that many said was impossible to solve?

Sofia Rodriguez Devesa gave a moving speech about poverty and the importance of considering the fact that it is really down to the luck of the draw as to where we are born and the family we are born into. “Our origins are nothing more than a birth lottery”. Sofia commented that when people are poor their choices are limited.  She made an extraordinary analogy between the Irish Famine when the Irish fled starvation to America in search of a better life in overcrowded boats known as coffin ships because so many died on their journeys. It is unimaginable that 160 years later, echoes of the past still haunt us as thousands of migrants try to cross dangerous seas and risk their lives doing so with thousands of others dying in the Meditterranean Sea.

The Principal Adrian Delaney and Deputy Principal Elaine O’Sullivan commented just how proud they were of the remarkable performances by each of the three participants Fatima, Jakub and Sofia. Adrian Delaney said that “They performed with passion, style and finesse”. “All three students gave inspiring speeches on a myriad of enlightening topics” said their tutor Gerald Cunningham.  Their teachers Lorna O’Callaghan and Ann Doherty were equally impressed with all of their three students because they are aware that it takes so much courage to participate in a public speaking competition when it is your native language let alone when it is not your first language.   The students strived for excellence and all of the staff in Plunket College of Further Education are absolutely thrilled that they did so well in the competition.

Well Done Fatima, Jakub and Sofia!

Photo 1 (above) shows: Jakub Cialek (Student), Fatima Contreiras (Student), Sofia Rodriguez Devasa (Student), Adrian Delaney (Principal) and Elaine O’ Sullivan (Deputy Principal)

Photo 2: Lorna O’ Callaghan (Teacher), Fatima Contreiras (Student), Adrian Delaney (Principal), Ann Doherty (Teacher) and Gerald Cunningham (Teacher).

FIND OUT MORE about Plunket College Open Day coming up soon.



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