by PETER GRACE
AUCKLAND — A 12-year-old Catholic girl with English as her second language has won a major speech prize.
Teisa Semisi is a year 7 pupil at St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Manurewa, Auckland, who won the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association cup for prepared speech for years 7 and 8. She also won vouchers to use at Paper Plus, she told NZ Catholic.
Teisa said she had to go through four rounds of competition, leading up to an Auckland-wide competition, to win through.
Teisa’s speech was about beauty — how beauty is often regarded or valued in a shallow way. She said contestants presented the same speech at each round.
A notable aspect of her speech was how well she proclaimed her ideas.
Her principal, Philip Cortesi, told NZ Catholic that after her final Teisa told him that as she was speaking she realised she had forgotten the dollar figures for various “beauty” treatments. So, he said, she made them up instead as she went along!
Teisa acknowledged that she had help along the way from a number of people. “My friend Angelika helped me, because she was the one who went to the finals with me during school.” She helped her presentation, and with timing.
Her teacher, Patricia McNamara, also supported her, said Teisa — as did an older sister. “She helped me edit and so on.” Her family was very proud of her.
She plans to enter the same competition next year, she said. But she has also been invited to attend speech classes at the TelstraClear Events Centre to practise and to gain more confidence.
Mr Cortesi said Teisa — half Samoan and half Tongan — was an excellent girl from a lovely family.
Teisa told NZ Catholic that when she leaves college in about six years, she would like to become either a lawyer or a photographer.

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