What's Happening in English?

From The English Department

With Term Three coming to an end, so too do the internal assessments for most senior students. Year 13s have been busy analysing literature through critical lenses, Year 12s are piecing together their portfolio and reading response work, while Year 11s are wrapping up their film studies. The highlight, however, has been the Year 9 speech competition which took place at the end of Week 9.

The top three students from each Year 9 class performed in the library in front of not only the whole year level, but also many teachers and, most importantly, guest judge Alan Rew. Mr Rew taught at John Paul II for over three decades, much of it as Head of the English Department. In his time, Mr Rew was also known to teach History and Business Studies, head the school debating team, and organise our annual pilgrimage to the Bishop Lyons Shield Competition.

Alan commended all six speakers for their passion, their delivery, and especially the quality of their ideas. He went on to say how the calibre of this year’s competitors far exceeded that of previous years, and many places were hotly contested. There were an excellent range of topics with all deliveries expressing the urgency of the subject. The promising styles of Antonia McDonnell (2nd) and Cameron Klempel (3rd) impressed Alan greatly, showing the capabilities of potential future leaders.

There could only be one winner, however, and that was the outstanding Marley Solia-Cole. Marley spoke brilliantly about what leadership meant to her, and what it meant through a Māori lens. She not only had the clearest argument but her deportment captured the room from start to finish. With John Paul II High School hosting next year’s Bishop Lyons Competition, Marley is likely to feature again.

As the English Department looks forward to 2022, we have confidence in our staffing and are already eyeing up how schemes can best be adapted to the new cohorts. While we do not have any pieces of work to share right now, be sure to look out for some at the end of the year in the school yearbook.

Adam Baker

HOD English