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YMCA Plain English Speaking Awards (PESA) 2021

Reflection from Filomena Litani Magha Amelia (Champion for Lower Secondary Category)

My journey taking part in YMCA PESA has been a fulfilling one. In the past, I hardly took part in public speaking competitions. When signing up for PESA, I did not even think I had the slightest chance of being selected to represent the school, what more winning the competition. At that time, whenever I did an impromptu speech, it always ended halfway with either 'mmm…', an innocent smile, or just a poker face! However, with time and practice, I am happy to say that I have improved significantly! From my initial reluctance to join to eventually being the champion! I remember the tears of joy I shed once the results were out. Even though it took tedious hours of training, it has all paid off and would not have been possible without the help from my teachers and parents. Thus, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Alwin Ho, Ms Daphne Chua, and Ms Sharon Ong for constantly guiding me and seeing the potential in me. I would also like to thank my parents for always supporting me throughout the competition. They have all made my journey in learning public speaking not just enjoyable but also memorable. I hope that my passion, coupled with the guidance from the teachers, as well as the opportunities provided by the school will allow me to continue to develop my public speaking skills further, so I can make my school, teachers, friends, and parents proud

Reflection from Hannah Chua Yun Han (First Runner-Up for Lower Secondary Category)

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to participate in this year’s YMCA PESA, but now that I’m able to look back on the experience, I can say that I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity that I was given.

The experience of taking part in this competition has really been very enriching. I’ve been exposed to a lot of different viewpoints and learnt from different perspectives, and it’s been really humbling to be able to learn from so many people. Taking part in PESA really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and learn how to use my voice in different ways. I was forced (by my own hand!) to suddenly learn and develop a whole set of skills during the competition process, like thinking on my feet and learning to be comfortable in the spotlight. This was difficult at first, but I would say that the growth that I went through because of this competition was ultimately worth it. 

That being said, I would never have been able to compete without the guidance and feedback of my teacher-coaches, or the unwavering moral support and encouragement provided by my family and friends. I’m really grateful for all the sacrifices that have been made on their parts and for everyone else who has played a part in my experience. Thank you all so much!