CFUW Sherbrooke & District Public Speaking Competition
“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.