Junior Speaking Contest

Let us together, develop tomorrow’s leaders

The Junior Speaking Contest was first conducted in 1978 between two (2) schools – St. Therese’s and Hambledon.  Only grades 4 to 7 were invited to nominate two students in each section – Section A (grades 4 & 5) and Section B (grades 6 & 7).

The success and relevance of this contest led to the Charter of Cairns Trinity Junior Chamber (Jaycees) and the expansion of the contest to this day.  

So great has been the response from teachers, students and parents of the local schools that the contest has rapidly expanded over the years.  Since 1979, all schools from Gordonvale to the Northern Beaches, have been invited to enter four students in each of the three (3) sections – Section A (grades 4 & 5), Section B (grades 6 & 7) and Section C (grades 8 & 9).  Over the years the contest has increased in popularity.

We believe its success continues to grow because;

  • The contest allows students to progress by speaking from Grade 4 through to Grade 9
  • The importance of being gentle, encouraging and understanding towards young people has been the primary concern and goal
  • The contest allows the gradual development of self esteem, self confidence and personal assurance
  • The contest is based on the Qualities of Character and builds leadership qualities in all participants

”Leaders illuminate the path for others to journey forward further than they thought possible by themselves”   Darren Hardy – Success Magazine

The common link in the Contest since 1978 has been Mario Calanna of Calanna Pharmacies.  He was part of a group of 3 that commenced the Contest. And was the Charter President of Trinity Jaycees in 1979 and joined Rotary in 1991.

In 1992, due to the closure of both Cairns Jaycees Chapters, the Cairns Southside Rotary Club was given the opportunity to include the JSC in its Youth Service pillar.  The contest is eagerly supported by Rotarians, past Jaycees, speech teachers, members of Rostrum and Toastmasters and young professionals – who may also have participated in the Contest during their own school days.


 The contest now receives nominations from up to 33 schools annually and almost 200 students participate in the formal part of the contest.  It is estimated that about 1500 students present 3 minute speeches in their own schools to determine the four students that will represent their school.

Calanna Pharmacies and Cairns Southside Rotary, invite you to continue your support for this contest and to encourage as many young people as possible to enter and enjoy the contest.  The importance of self confidence and self esteem are of the utmost importance in life.  To continue to build our nation, we need people who desire to succeed and are prepared to stand up for their beliefs.  This contest is one avenue to  encourage this goal.

Calanna Junior Speaking Contest

2019 Contest Finals 12:34

Calanna Junior Speaking Contest Finals 2019 Section C

2019 Contest Finals 37:54

Calanna Junior Speaking Contest Finals 2019 Section A

2019 Contest Finals 37:00

Calanna Junior Speaking Contest Finals 2019 Section B

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