Yasmine Alwakal, Year 11 student and Head Girl at Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta has taken the world by storm in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition (WIDPSC) finishing in 10th place overall.

Performing in the Grand Finals last weekend via Zoom, Yasmine has achieved a remarkable result – the best result ever achieved by an OLMC student!

The Championships were due to be held in Shanghai, China in April, however, COVID-19 prevented the event from going ahead. Fortunately, the titles were rescheduled through Zoom from the 14-24 August.

Yasmine competed against approximately 60 of the best students from every corner the world that all qualified through the National Titles.

‘Considering the circumstances, this competition has been an extremely insightful experience that has enabled me the opportunity to challenge myself and compete in such a unique forum. In a time when so many competitions have come to a halt, I feel privileged to have the resources and opportunities to compete online. The competition enabled me to form friendships and connections with speakers from all around the world and strengthen my own public speaking abilities.’ said Yasmine.

WIDPSC requires students to interact and collaborate with like-minded peers from diverse and different schools, cultural backgrounds and countries. Each participant must compete in four different events: Debate, Impromptu Speaking, Persuasive or After Dinner Speaking and Interpretive Reading.

In her 10-minute Persuasive speech, Yasmine explored the unreliable nature of evidence.

An excerpt from the novel ‘Night Rainbow’, was chosen by Yasmine for her Interpretive reading. This focussed on the nature of grieving.

Two debates were live on Zoom, the first one about whether private schools should be forced to subsidise those students in need in their local area and the second about whether we should have a four-day working week.

For her first live impromptu speech, Yasmine chose ‘Outrage’ and looked at how we need to change the Australian image. The topic of ‘You’ll be caught’ was chosen for her second impromptu about the importance of monitoring the idea of truth in media.

Principal (Acting) Marie Wood of Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta, said the College community is proud of the outstanding achievement of Yasmine. ‘Yasmine’s results can be attributed to her hard work, dedication and motivation. This event provided an avenue for Yasmine, not only to practise and test her oratorical skills, but to value the importance of the art of expression. Her results are a testament to Public Speaking and Debating at OLMC.’