On the 30th August 2017 the Rotary Club of Berrima District hosted the 2017 Southern Highland’s 4 Way Test Public Speaking Competition.  Berrima put forward two contestants – Celia Battcock from Frensham and Campbell De Montemas from Oxley College.  The Rotary Club of Bowral/Mittagong had two contestants from Bowral High School – Phoebe Staats and Hayden Koek.  Ben Brittle from Moss Vale High School was representing the Rotary Club of Moss Vale.
The students presented on different topics and related them to the Rotary 4 Way Test:
  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Hayden Koek, Bowral High School, discussed Bullying and applied the 4 Way Test to how to deal with bullies and bullying.  Hayden suggested that we spend too much time focusing on the bullied rather than the bully and feels that finding out why someone is a bully is a far more effective way to stop it happening in the first place.
Campbell De Montemas, Oxley College, spoke about suicide and believes that the 4 Way Test could be used to help treat people suffering from mental illness or contemplating suicide.  Campbell believes that truth and fairness when it comes to mental health is beneficial to all concerned.
Ben Brittle, Moss Vale High School, applied the 4 Way Test to the current political climate in North Korea and found that the Government policies failed the “test”.  Ben suggests that the actions of “rouge” governments around the world are one of the biggest threats to today’s young people and that acts of war are NEVER beneficial.
Phoebe Staats, Bowral High School, informed us that the 4 Way Test was first put forward by Rotary after World War Two in response to a world that had lost it’s moral compass.  Phoebe then applied the 4 Way Test to the current Australia Day controversy and determined that it would be better to change the date.
Celia Battcock, Frensham, applied the 4 Way Test to forest clearing, animal extinctions and pollution and found that we humans fail the 4 Way Test when it comes to protecting the environment.  Yet, conservation is fair and decidedly beneficial to all. 
All 5 speeches were brilliant.  The topics covered were well thought out and well presented.  The Judges – Chris Young (Berrima), Don Graham (Bowral/Mittagong) and Jim McAlpine (Moss Vale) had a difficult time choosing just one winner but they overwhelmingly agreed that Phoebe Staats was it.  Her speech was also a crowd favourite.  Our congratulations to Phoebe who will be competing in the final later this year.  Thank you also to the Students, their Teachers, Parents and the Rotary Clubs of Bowral/Mittagong and Moss Vale for attending and putting forward contestants.  It was a great day and I look forward to the 4 Way Test again next year.