Luke’s award-winning speech on ‘locker-room culture’


Luke Macaronas, St Kevin's College student, with his trophies for winning the Plain English Speaking AwardsThis culture of hyper-masculinity has developed in the locker rooms, playgrounds and boardrooms of the world, the spaces, unchecked by authority, dominated by men, where boys copy the violent language and actions passed down by their coaches. 

With his powerful speech ‘Locker-room culture’, Luke Macaronas, a year 12 student at St Kevin’s College has won the national 2016 Plain English Speaking Award (PESA). Luke’s skilled use of the English language and the depth of his research challenged the audience to rethink how masculinity disempowers young men from learning to connect with themselves and understand their emotions.

As the national winner, Luke will travel to London in May 2017 to represent Australia at the English Speaking Union (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition, where speakers from up to 50 countries
will compete to be named the best young English
speaker in the world.

Luke won $5,000 from BBM Youth Support to go towards his attendance at the ESU International Public Speaking Competition in London in May 2017.

Luke’s speech encouraged the audience to think about how the violence and aggression of the locker-room has shaped the expectations placed on men. Luke’s speech analysed the notion that ‘real men don’t cry’, and the consequences of learned masculinity, including anti-social behaviour, under-reporting of mental illness and negative attitudes and violence towards women.

Luke’s brother James was a PESA state winner and represented Victoria at the national PESA competition in 2014.

Watch or read Luke’s full speech on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) website.