MERRIFIELD College pupil, Dominique Plaatjes has been selected to represent South Africa at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Sydney, Australia, in April.
Dominique was not in the original team featured in the GO! last year on October 20 (“Clarendon pupils to speak up for SA”), but was called up after a Selborne pupil pulled out of
The competition requires participants to take part in four categories namely, a debate session, prepared reading, prepared public speaking and impromptu speaking.
“I really hope to make the top 10 in the prepared reading category. That, and public speaking are my strong points,” said Dominique, who is the deputy head girl of Merrifield College and has achieved academic honours.
Dominique started public speaking early in her school career, winning a speech competition from Grade 1 to Grade 3 at Hudson Park Primary.
Owing to her continued public speaking, musical and academic achievements, she was later awarded a full academic and cultural scholarship to Merrifield College.
“I first had the opportunity to go to the national competition in Grade 8 but it was too expensive to make the trip to Joburg,” she said.
From Grade 9 to Grade 11, Dominique has had the opportunity to represent her school at every NIDPSC, which has led to her being chosen for the world championships.
“I never really took debating and public speaking seriously, it was just something I was good at, but last year was the first time I really worked to improve my debating and took it seriously,” she said.
She will be attending the prestigious event with fellow East Londoners Heather Sandison, Caitlin Laing and Thando Dyasi, who were all also selected for the competition.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity and for my school, it’s all because of them that I got the opportunity to go to NIDPSC in the
first place,” she said.
Dominique’s mother, Cassie Plaatjes, said: “When she got home from NIDPSC last year she said that it was the first time she felt like she actually deserved to go to the world champs, she worked really hard.
“At first I said she couldn’t go to the world champs, we really didn’t have the means to pay for her trip to Sydney, but after some support from friends and family we are slowly making it,” Cassie said.
Each of the competitors pay a R40 000 entrance fee, which caters for flights, accommodation and most meals, but excludes flights from East London to Durban and any other costs they may encounter in preparation for, as well as on their trip.
In order to raise some of the funds needed for Dominique’s trip, Merrifield will host an entertainment evening, complete with a light meal. Tickets are R150 and all are welcome.
Anyone interested in attending the fundraiser or making a contribution, can contact Cassie Plaatjes on 071-250-2017 or at cassieplaatjes@ gmail. com