John Paul College Year 13 students took out the top three spots at the annual Rotorua Speech and Drama Competition this year.

About 175 students, aged 5 to 18, performed more than 500 pieces at the Energy Events Centre on Saturday and Sunday.

The ultimate award was Performer of the Year, won by Olivia Temm.

Josh McGrath and Cullen Smith were runners-up.

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The trio are all drama students taught by Gabrielle Thurston and will now go on to compete in the national competition.

Seven students were vying for the top award.

Olivia Temm was one of three John Paul College students named as the sole national scholarship recipients for their grades by Speech New Zealand last year.

Each student was graded on a year's worth of work done through an extra-curricular speech and drama syllabus.

Cate Mills has been the Rotorua Speech and Drama Competition convener for five years.

She told the Rotorua Daily Post on the weekend that it was a positive event.

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"It's one of the only opportunities in Rotorua to perform and compete. We have our outside adjudicators that come in and give them feedback," she said.

Mills said most of the competitors were from local schools but some travelled from Taupō and Hawke's Bay.

Pam Logan, Colleen Bassett, and Josephine Carpenter were judges, and they announced the results late last night.