Mes­sage loud and clear

Ellenbrook Advocate - - NEWS - Sarah Brookes

GUILD­FORD Gram­mar stu­dent Zachary Matthews has won the City of Swan’s Youth Out Loud pub­lic speak­ing con­test by speak­ing out on his strug­gles with com­ing out as gay.

This year’s theme was in­sta­bil­ity and com­peti­tors were en­cour­aged to speak about their views on the com­mu­nity, their own per­sonal re­la­tion­ships, and what they deemed as sta­ble and un­sta­ble in their own lives.

Zachary said neg­a­tiv­ity had a pro­found ef­fect on peo­ple and he be­lieved ev­ery­one should work to­gether to cre­ate a more pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

“I specif­i­cally fo­cused on my ex­pe­ri­ences as a mem­ber of the LGBTI com­mu­nity, hav­ing re­cently come out as gay, and how I com­bated neg­a­tiv­ity with hap­pi­ness and op­ti­mism,” he said. “This is es­pe­cially rel­e­vant in a time where all we hear about is the lat­est hor­ri­ble ter­ror­ist at­tack or an­other slew of late-night tweets ap­pears in the head­lines.”

City of Swan Mayor David Lu­cas said 30 young peo­ple from across the City, rang­ing from ages 12 to 25, took part.

“Youth Out Loud is a great ex­am­ple of the City’s com­mit­ment to­ward sup­port­ing our young gen­er­a­tion, pro­vid­ing them with a plat­form to dis­cuss im­por­tant com­mu­nity is­sues,” he said.

“Each year, we in­vite coun­cil­lors and politi­cians to at­tend the event, where they have the op­por­tu­nity to hear the thoughts, con­cerns and ideas young peo­ple raise on be­half of our com­mu­nity.”

Se­nior cat­e­gory win­ner Clau­dia Wade-Gar­cia spoke out about eat­ing disor­ders, men­tal health and fam­ily re­la­tion­ships.

First Herne Hill Scout Group’s Jonathan Rose, who took out the top spot in the ju­nior cat­e­gory, spoke about the per­sonal skills and sup­port net­works that can be de­vel­oped through scout groups.

Mas­ter cat­e­gory win­ner Yosef As­resse en­cour­aged his au­di­ence to sur­round them­selves with mo­ti­vat­ing and sta­ble peo­ple.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Bai­ley said this year’s win­ners would be the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers and had spo­ken very pas­sion­ately on a di­verse range of top­ics.

Zachary Matthews is pre­sented with the Char­lie Gre­gorini Me­mo­rial Shield by City of Swan Mayor David Lu­cas.

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