“You are all winners because you had the courage to perform in front of an audience!”
These were the words I uttered to our students before they went on stage to recite a poem, tell a story or shared their opinions in a speech. For many it was nerve-racking and yet fulfilling as the results of months of hard work were unveiling right before our eyes. Friends, family, teachers sat in the audience anxiously hoping that the performances will receive a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Gold Star Award. Our students did not disappoint. Everyone was amazing and everyone delivered as they should. I couldn’t be happier. There were a few tears of happiness when a Gold Star was awarded and a few tears of sadness when the award was not a Gold but everyone learned an important life lesson at the Singapore Performing Arts Festival – with hard work, determination and the willingness to face your fears, you can achieve wonders.
Preparation started in January 2019, when 25 students signed up for ‘The Art of Speaking’. This was a special course which I had designed to prepare students to perform in front of an adjudicator and an audience in a competitive arena. It involved different genres of speaking such as verse speaking, storytelling and impromptu speaking. These genres of speaking required spontaneity, maturity and a strong sense of personal voice. Besides that students had to develop the ability to speak in front of an audience. We had to incorporate different activities in the programme to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and let their hair down. Some were naturally extroverted which made it easier for them while others had to be less self-conscious. Through it all, the experience produced speakers who dare to take the stage, to compete for excellence and be confident in their own shoes.
During the two day festival, I was a nervous wreck. Although I had been teaching public speaking for more than 10 years, I was sending my students into categories that were new to us. In 2018, when I first fielded students for verse speaking, storytelling and impromptu speaking segments, we performed rather poorly, Our centre dominated the public speaking category but nothing else. We lost to the Malaysians who had a strong background in drama. The competitor in me could not take the defeat in silence. So I reflected and I pondered on how we could do better at SPAF 2019. Thus the Art of Speaking was born. With the help of one of my trainers, Ms Kat, we descended like vultures to hand pick students from the different grade levels in the Trinity College London Communication Skills Programe. We felt that we could coached the chosen ones to do well in the 3 genres we were aiming for. We coax them to sign up for The Art of Speaking and to participate in these 3 categories at SPAF 2019. After 3 months of hard work, Ms Kat and I sat in the audience with smiles plastered on our faces, last minute words of encouragements and fingers crossing. We were more nervous than our students! And they delivered! Some of our students walked away with Gold and Gold Star Awards! What was even more rewarding for me was when a teacher from a Malaysian team came up to me after the storytelling segment and told me that my students were outstanding storytellers! I was so elated yet humbled.
These are the Gold and Gold Star Achievers for SPAF 2019:
|ATHARV JOSHI||STORYTELLING||PA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS||Gold Star|
|CAYLA LEE XIN EN||STORYTELLING||PA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS||Gold Star|
|ALISON KUO KIT YING||STORYTELLING||P A – SOLO (7) 10-12YRS||Gold Star|
|HENG YAN YA REI||STORYTELLING||PA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS||GOLD|
|CHONG JIA QI EVAN||STORYTELLING||PA – SOLO (6) 6-9YRS||GOLD|
|GLORIA LEONG MIN||STORYTELLING||P A – SOLO (7) 10-12YRS||GOLD|
|CHOW LI TONG||STORYTELLING||P A – SOLO (7) 10-12YRS||GOLD|
|ATHARV JOSHI||VERSE SPEAKING||VERSE SPEAKING (15) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|CHEONG JIA QI EVAN||VERSE SPEAKING||VERSE SPEAKING (15) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|CAYLA LEE XIN EN||VERSE SPEAKING||VERSE SPEAKING (15) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|CHAK EU JUEN||VERSE SPEAKING||VERSE SPEAKING (16) 10-11YRS||Gold|
|GLORIA LEONG MIN QI||VERSE SPEAKING||VERSE SPEAKING (16) 10-11YRS||Gold|
|ELLA LOO YUNFEI||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 21 (Age 8 – 9)||Gold|
|CHLOE HUA (PAN JIAYU)||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 22 (Age 10 – 11)||Gold|
|CHOW LI TONG||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 22 (Age 10 – 11)||Gold|
|GLORIA LEONG MIN QI||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 22 (Age 10 – 11)||Gold|
|PRINAKA LALA||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 22 (Age 10 – 11)||Gold|
|RAPHAEL TAN YI YANG||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 22 (Age 10 – 11)||Gold|
|CHEONG HOH IAN REUBEN||IMPROMPTU SPEAKING||Class 24 (Age 14 – 16)||Gold|
|KHUA KENG LI KENRIC||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (2) 10-11YRS||Gold Star|
|ALISON KUO KIT YANG||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (2) 10-11YRS||Gold|
|ALISON LIM YI XUAN||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (2) 10-11YRS||Gold|
|JASMIN GAN JIE MIN||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (2) 10-11YRS||Gold|
|WONG BOXI||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (2) 10-11YRS||Gold|
|ANDREW JONATHAN LEE||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (3) 12-13YRS||Gold|
|CHEONG HOH IAN REUBEN||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (4) 14-16YRS||Gold|
|CAYDEN CHONG MING XUAN||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (1) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|ELLA LOO YUNFEI||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (1) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|HAN YUSHAN JACINTHA||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (1) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|CHUA YI XUAN||PUBLIC SPEAKING||SOLO (1) 8-9YRS||Gold|
|LIM QI XUAN KADENCE||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD STAR|
|CHLOE HUA (PAN JIAYU)||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD STAR|
|CHLOE LIM SI EN||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD STAR|
|CAYLA LEE XIN EN||CREATIVE WRITING||10 (6-9 years)||GOLD|
|ALISON KUO KIT YING||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD|
|GLORIA LEONG MIN QI||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD|
|LEE RUI EN RIANNE||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD|
|TEH XIN NI CHARLOTTE||CREATIVE WRITING||11 (10-12 years)||GOLD|
|CLAIRE LIM YI HUI||CREATIVE WRITING||12 (13-16 years)||GOLD|
We also had many students that achieved Silver and Bronze awards and I would like to say that I am just as proud of their effort and courage for participating and I hope they will try again in 2020. Kenric Khua is a good example. In 2018, he achieved a Silver for public speaking but he did not give up and came back even stronger in 2019 and earned the Gold Star Award which was the highest award given at the festival.
I am now searching for the next group of students for SPAF 2020. If you would like your child to earn up to 5 International Certificates for Speaking over a 2 day Festival, don’t miss the chance to sign up for our Art of Speaking 6 day camp in November 2019 or 12 weeks programme in February 2020. We will get your child performance ready to do his/her best.
These achievements will not only build your child’s confidence and speaking abilities but also his/her portfolio for Direct School Admissions. We have the success strategies to get your child ready. Look out for my next blog post on DSA coming soon. Before I leave, let me share a video of Cayla Lee telling the story that won her the Gold Star Award at SPAF 2019. Enjoy!