History of Festival of Speech

The concept of a Festival of Speech for AHIGS was first mooted in the early 1990's by Mr Chris Faisandier, then Principal of Kincoppal - Rose Bay and member of AHIGS.

As Principal of Sacred Heart College in New Zealand, Mr Faisandier was involved with the O'Shea Shield Competition in which about twenty schools from the lower North Island of New Zealand participated.

The purpose of the O'Shea Shield Competition was to encourage students to develop skills in the areas of public speaking, debating, analysis and rhetoric. So popular was the Competition and so high was the standard of presentation, that the winners of the O'Shea Shield were often featured on New Zealand television.

With the support of the AHIGS membership, Mr Faisandier established the Festival of Speech (then known as the Independent Girls Schools Speaking Competition) in NSW in 1996. The inaugural Festival, spanning Friday evening and all day Saturday, was hosted by Kincoppal - Rose Bay and attended by some fifteen schools.

Today the Festival continues to be hosted annually by an AHIGS member's school. Some twenty seven schools now participate and students have the opportunity to perform in the areas of drama, debating, poetry, prose readings, current affairs and religious and ethical questions. The Festival is open to girls from years seven to eleven and offers an important focal point for skill development, personal expression, teamwork and friendship.

During the past twenty years the following schools have hosted Festival of Speech:
1996 - Kincoppal - Rose Bay, 1997 - MLC School, 1998 - Queenwood, 1999 - St Catherine's, 2000 - Pymble Ladies' College, 2001 - Santa Sabina, 2002 - Kincoppal - Rose Bay and Kambala, 2003 - Abbotsleigh, 2004 - Kambala and Kincoppal - Rose Bay, 2005 - MLC School, Santa Sabina and Kambala, 2006 - PLC Sydney, 2007 - St Catherine's, 2008 - Meriden and Santa Sabina, 2009 - Loreto Kirribilli, 2010 - Meriden, 2011 - Abbotsleigh, 2012 - Ravenswood, 2013 - PLC Sydney, 2014 - OLMC, 2015 - Wenona, 2016 - Abbotsleigh, 2017 - Tara, 2018 - Brigidine St Ives, 2019 - Meriden School, 2020 - PLC Sydney