The lead-up to who would get picked for the House Speeches was a tense situation to say the least. Everyone in Stackallan was convinced that they would be cruelly chosen to stand up in front of the whole school, petrified, and speak on some random topic of their choice. The days slipped by and before we all knew it we were trudging up to the BSR, like convicted men taking their last walk to the gallows. The whole affair went by pretty quickly and the only bit I really remember was when Mr Jameson went to call the names for Stack, I was praying to anyone who was listening that I wouldn’t be chosen: it felt a lot like The Hunger Games come to think of it.
Felix Mertes was the first to be called, then Wenzel Manegold and finally...Gabriel. The relief I felt when he said Gabriel’s name was as if I had just been plucked from the jaws of death. During the lead-up to the practices and the real thing, we were required to help out with those writing their speeches. In the English classes we would listen to what they had got so far and then offer pointers and help with it. The biggest hassle for some seemed to be which subject to base their speech on and not the actual writing which in my opinion was mostly very fluent, witty and clever.
Most of the speakers did eventually find a topic they thought would be good to speak on, even though they may have had to change their ideas: for example, Henry went through football to Irish accents before he landed on human trafficking. The speakers for Stack were a pretty mixed bunch when it came to nerves. Felix was very stressed and was constantly going over his speech and timing himself and so on, Wenzel seemed perfectly calm and I didn’t see him practising furiously before a practice once and Gabe acted as if there was no difference and didn’t even talk about it. The night of the speeches came very quickly but talking to some of those who were speaking although they were all terrified, had a good speech ready to go.
I was very impressed right away with the first speech by Sasha Cole on Bad Habits, and was struck by how clearly all the speakers spoke and how witty some of the speeches were, like Richard Dennis with his speech on Silly Laws or Iman talking about indoor plumbing, which as one might expect brought about a fair bit of laughter. There was a huge spectrum of speeches, ranging from some very funny speeches like Iman’s, to some very serious topics like Felix Mertes and Wenzel’s speeches on the Refugee Crisis in Syria. The whole night was very enjoyable and I was also very proud when Felix and Wenzel came first and second overall and Stack also was the winning house, though this wasn’t too much of a surprise as they were both very good with their delivery and had some very strong points in their speeches - especially Wenzel who made it personal when he talked about two refugees his family had taken in.
I thought that the House Speeches was a great event and thought that it benefitted those who spoke greatly as it forced them out of their comfort zones and into the unknown.