CFUW Sher­brooke & Dis­trict Public Speak­ing Com­pe­ti­tion

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Spe­cial Col­lab­o­ra­tion Carol Mooney

“Hey World, here I am!” With those words, a high school stu­dent con­fi­dently launched into his speech in one of the nine­teen public speak­ing con­tests hosted by CFUW Sher­brooke & Dis­trict. On May 2, 2012, the 20th An­nual Public Speak­ing Com­pe­ti­tion will take place at Amédée Beau­doin Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Len­noxville at 4:15 p.m. Over the past 20 years, stu­dents from five sec­ondary schools have put Town­ships adults in the picture ad­dress­ing a world of cap­ti­vat­ing top­ics. Youth­ful speak­ers have brought au­di­ences out of the dark us­ing hu­mor, con­vic­tion, drama, and re­search-based data.

In try­ing to cat­e­go­rize these speeches, gen­eral head­ings such as teenage is­sues, re­la­tion­ships, sci­ence and na­ture, peo­ple, places, and foods come to mind. Some speeches had in­trigu­ing ti­tles that aroused the cu­rios­ity of the au­di­ence and many have mem­o­rable quotes that we re­mem­ber to this day. One jaw­smith gave a guide to public speak­ing and an­other ex­pounded on “Why I hate public speak­ing”!

On a more se­ri­ous side, some pop­u­lar is­sues were teenage de­pres­sion and sui­cide, vi­o­lence, date rape, bul­ly­ing, and dropouts. On a lighter note, we also heard about a bright fu­ture for teens, liv­ing hap­pily af­ter, and good rea­sons to lower the vot­ing age.

One word­smith talked about the ben­e­fits of Dad’s ad­vice. A win­ning speech de­tailed the im­por­tance of lov­ing our weak­nesses. We heard about mar­riage, the dif­fer­ence be­tween men and women, and teen preg­nan­cies. Some au­di­ence mem­bers will al­ways re­mem­ber the tall young man who strode con­fi­dently to the mi­cro­phone and as­sertively elab­o­rated on the ben­e­fits of breast-feed­ing. A few stu­dents asked us ques­tions to start. Are you too clean? Lot­tery – is it worth the gam­ble? Should ap­pear­ance mat­ter?

Dust mites, bac­te­ria, the seal hunt and the pump­kin re­bel­lion are sci­ence and na­ture top­ics re­searched by stu­dents over the past 20 years. Global warn­ing and water us­age have been fre­quent top­ics. The Hal­i­fax Ex­plo­sion fas­ci­nated the au­di­ence one year.

The lives of peo­ple have touched our stu­dent public speak­ers. Ein­stein, Lucy Maude Mont­gomery, Rocket Richard, “my great grand­mother” and Humpty Dumpty are just a few. One stu­dent de­picted a beau­ti­ful picture of Scot­land for her au­di­ence.

In 2008, a stu­dent built on Eleanor Roo­sevelt’s words that no one can make you feel in­fe­rior un­less you let them. “In my world, bul­ly­ing bites, I will not stand by, I will stand up.” In the same year, an­other stu­dent said, “If we go on MSN, Hot­mail and Face­book all day, it equals less time with our fam­i­lies. It is time we put our lives first and elec­tron­ics sec­ond.”

The top­ics have touched mem­bers of our au­di­ences. One young per­son with ADD af­ter lis­ten­ing to a speech on the topic real- ized he had great po­ten­tial be­side his prob­lems and went on to bet­ter ad­just to his sit­u­a­tion . His Mother has stated, “that speech changed his life”.

The an­nual May event bring­ing to­gether award win­ners from five sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions is a cul­mi­na­tion of a lengthy learn­ing process in each of the schools: Alexan­der Galt, Bishop’s Col­lege School, Mas­say Vanier, Stanstead Col­lege and Rich­mond Re­gional. En­tire classes par­tic­i­pate in the oral speech- mak­ing de­vel­op­ment, an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the Que­bec high school cur­ricu­lum. Teach­ers in the schools play an es­sen­tial role in sup­port­ing the an­nual CFUW Sher­brooke & Dis­trict Public Speak­ing Com­peti­iton.

To hear what is on the mind of this year’s par­tic­i­pants, plan to be at Amédée Beau­doin Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, 10 Gratham St., Len­noxville on Wed­nes­day, May 2nd at 4:15 p.m. Bring your friends.

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