Thursday, August 11 2022

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From her home in Yarralumla, where she has lived for 71 years, former elementary school teacher Dorothy Hine remembers how she and her husband Warren introduced children at ACT schools to the art of public speaking. The couple, led by Warren, started the Rostrum Elementary School public speaking competition in Canberra 50 years ago. Mr. Hine became involved with Rostrum as a civil servant working in the primary industry. He wanted advice on how to speak in an engaging manner when negotiating wheat deals with Japan, China or Russia. Mr. Hine died in 2018 at the age of 95. For the past three years, Ms. Hine has donated the Warren Hine Memorial Trophies to the winners. This year’s final was held at Radford College recently, with the competition going even in the face of COVID and schools being stranded for months. Ninety-two schools participated, with champion speakers from eight schools making the grand finale. This year’s winner was Leo Richter from Chapman Primary and the finalists were Mia Buser from Mount Carmel School in Yass and Amelie Hitchcock from St Bede’s Primary School in Red Hill. Hines daughter Alison Kerr said seeing how the competition developed, including in regions around ACT, was one of the highlights in her father’s life and one that he would have enjoyed. to be in the final. “Dad would have just loved it, to see the enthusiasm of the kids,” she said. Mr. Hine also always encouraged his four children to speak clearly and be critical, even around the dinner table. He became a judge for the Rostrum adult public speaking competitions when it was decided to introduce it to schools in 1971, helping to build children’s confidence. “They thought they should start earlier, so the kids could master public speaking,” Ms. Hine said. Ms Hine, now 95, was a teacher at Yarralumla Primary School and helped launch the competition, remembering that one of her students, Sandra Dennis, won the first event. “Parents were interested in going to the final of the competition so it got like a topsy,” she said. The couple went to schools to help develop the competition, giving advice, working with teachers and judging speeches. Ms. Hine also co-authored a public speaking guide called Cooking up a Speech. “Each school had a copy in their library,” she says. And his recipe for a good speech? “Speak clearly, look at your audience and always have a good opening and a good ending,” she said, her eyes twinkling. Both from Brisbane, the Hines met at a prom at the University of Queensland and moved to Canberra in 1950 after their marriage. They never thought of leaving the nation’s capital, loving their Yarralumla street, Drummond Row. Ms. Hine enjoyed the “camaraderie” of Canberra. “We have so many friends,” she said. Ms. Hine, who also worked at Fisher, Urambi, and Duffy Elementary Schools, is invariably recognized by an alumnus every time she steps out. “They always say, ‘Mrs Hine, you haven’t changed at all’ or ‘Remember that joke you used to say about such and such ?. Our reporters work hard to deliver the news. local and up-to-date to the community, here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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