Dissenting on the “Soap Box”

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - By: Chloe C, Allard ‘21

Earlier this year, several public speaking students participated in an art show called “Dissent” located at an art gallery in Duncan. On January 25, the seven Brentwood students presented in front of a live audience on a range of topics including mental health, open-net fish farming, sex trafficking, gender bias in medical treatments, and reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians.

The art show depicted pieces that were powerful and meaningful, on themes varying from feminism to global warming, and many other popular social movements. The gallery did a great job bringing to light different perspectives on important issues and inspiring discussion.

This particular part of the event was called “Soapbox Saturday”, in which students literally stood up on a soapbox to address a live, public audience. They had prepared speeches about the topics that were important to them, which were carefully researched, thoughtfully written, and persuasively presented.

For many students, this was the first time presenting in front of a live audience of adults. Even with experience, it would be an intimidating circumstance that takes a lot of courage. One of the presenters, Sean R, Privett ‘21, says that “It was scary presenting in front of older people about these topics, since they may not have the same views.” Sean spoke about how we shouldn’t blindly trust the news. Despite the intimidating situation, he took questions and engaged in conversation with the audience, driven by a passion for his topic.

Another student, Freya P, Hope ‘21, felt that the experience was “A little scary but fun” since it was her first time performing. It may have been an intimidating event to not only go to but present in, but it was very rewarding. They came back with newfound knowledge and experience that will benefit them in the future.

The public speaking, debate and Model UN courses are continuing online for afternoon arts. The teachers, Ms Cuk, Mr Bryant, and Ms Legassicke are doing a fantastic job keeping the program going despite the challenges that come up with delivering public performance classes online. Students will have the choice to participate in virtual Model United Nations conferences soon, so stay posted.

Chloe C, Allard ‘21

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