Rotorua students displayed their supreme public speaking skills at the annual ANZ RSA Cyril Bassett VC Speech Competition, taking out the top three places.
Rotorua Girls' High School head girl Jordyn Tereu was named the regional winner, followed by Eamon Walsh from John Paul College and Ryan Beamish from Rotorua Boys' High School.
The trio beat out eight other students from the Waikato Bay of Plenty region who gathered in Tauranga on Saturday, vying for the chance to compete at the national finals.
Jordyn said she was approached to do the speech and decided to speak about the war efforts of women, calling it "The Forgotten Front Line".
"The war is not a topic I would usually choose and I didn't have a relation who went to war so I decided to be a little different and talk about the contribution women made, as well as men, to the war effort."
She said public speaking was her passion so nerves were not a factor.
"My speech had a different dynamic to the others which I think helped it to stand out for the judges. After I had done it I had so many people coming up to me. One lady, who was a nurse, put her head on my shoulder and started to cry saying she had never felt appreciated like that before. That to me was a huge reaction."
Jordyn received $1000 for herself and $1000 for her school as a reward for winning the regional competition and will be heading to the national final in Wellington next week.
There she will compete for the chance to travel to Gallipoli for 2016 Anzac Day commemorations, as well as a $1000 travel fund, trophy, laptop and digital camera.
RSA national president BJ Clark said there had been a fantastic level of interest in the competition.
"We are especially grateful to ANZ for the commitment they have made to this partnership in conducting this event. They have been with us since 2010 and have been generous in making this happen," he said.
"Its aim is to promote among young people a deeper understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices made by those who served New Zealand in war and armed conflict.
"It's positive to see so many contestants speaking on and sharing their experiences of the Anzac spirit, as it relates to them."