Ballarat secondary school students have participated in a public speaking competition, which has been saved from folding.
The Ballarat regional final of the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award was held at Legacy House Ballarat on Wednesday.
The event saw 10 female students, aged between 12 and 14 years, present a prepared speech followed by an impromptu speech.
The LJPSA was at risk of folding and the national competition ending after Melbourne Legacy withdrew from the competition.
But Victorian regional legacy clubs, including Ballarat, Hamilton and Warrnambool, decided to run the event as a regional competition.
Ballarat event co-ordinator and legatee Allan McKinnon said it was thought the competition would fold if the regional legacy clubs did not step in.
He said it had been difficult for schools to participate in the competition due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We hope that it is successful and that students gain a lot from it. Legacy is very appreciative to schools given the difficulty at schools at the moment," Ms McKinnon said.
"I am hoping next year we will have more speakers."
Topics of the LJPSA Ballarat regional final included the role of surf lifesavers, stopping animal testing and the Australian immigration system.
Runner-up Dee Matthews-Wood, 14, of Phoenix P-12 Community College said it was her first time presenting a speech in public.
She spoke about the failures of the Australian immigration system, a topic close to her heart.
"You have to think about not making (the speech) monotonous and emphasise the right sections," Dee said.
Phoenix P-12 Community College co-debating and public speaking co-ordinator Laura Benney came runner-up in the national competition in Brisbane when she was 15.
Participating in the competitions as a teenager has given her important skills to become a teacher, which she said she always wanted to be.
Now she is able to pass on her valuable knowledge on public speaking centred around social justice.
The two regional winners were Lainie Ballinger and Olive Lanyon, both of Loreto College. Lily Matthews, of Loreto College, was runner-up along with Dee Matthews-Wood.
The four speakers will progress to the state finals in September in Ballarat. The two winners will deliver a reading at Ballarat's Remembrance Day service in November.
Ballarat Grammar was the third school to participate in the competition, while it was the first time in 27 years there were no St Patrick's College students due to a school camp.
The aim of the LJPSA is to enhance the oral communication and public skills of 12- to 14-year-old students and to help young people appreciate the ideals of legacy; voluntary service, caring and comradeship and the need for remembrance.
Students' speeches must relate to the ideals of voluntary service, social justice, caring, personal sacrifice or mateship and the importance of remembrance.
Ballarat has seen two students win the national LJPSA award.
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