In­spir­ing speech leads to big win

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - TA­MARA THORN

A Toko­roa teen has taken out a na­tional ti­tle af­ter in­spir­ing peo­ple with words dur­ing the Na­tional Lions Speech Com­pe­ti­tion.

Toko­roa High School year 12 stu­dent Sean Mill­ward who won the na­tional young speech maker con­test which was held in Wel­ing­ton re­cently.

Mill­ward, who was the youngest per­son ever to win the com­pe­ti­tion, re­ceived a six week all-ex­penses paid for trip to the US and Canada in Novem­ber.

Spend­ing money and ac­com­mo­da­tion is also in­cluded in the pack­age but Mill­ward said he’d be stay­ing with a host fam­ily for the ma­jor­ity of the trip.

‘‘It’s still pretty shock­ing,’’ said Mill­ward of the win.

‘‘I’ve not fully pro­cess­ing that I’m go­ing to Amer­ica.’’

As part of his prize Mill­ward will speak to peo­ple in Amer­ica about youth in New Zealand and po­lit­i­cal and global is­sues ef­fect­ing youth.

As part of the speech process Mill­ward at­tended the re­gional com­pe­ti­tions in Cam­bridge and Hamil­ton be­fore go­ing to Welling­ton to com­pete at na­tion­als.

Mill­ward said that lis­ten­ing to other com­peti­tor’s speeches was daunt­ing but said he was rea­son­ably con­fi­dent with what he had prac­ticed.

When prac­tic­ing his speech Mill­ward said he spent ev­ery in­ter­val and lunch time with his tu­tor Keinan Ngapo who coached him with his im­promptu.

‘‘He spent a tre­men­dous amount of time on this,’’ said Ngapo.

He said Mill­ward had the de­ter­mi­na­tion and mo­ti­va­tion to strive for the best and he did it.

‘‘As a coach there is noth­ing bet­ter, I am so proud.’’

Ngapo said no one from the Waikato re­gion has yet won this com­pe­ti­tion and it goes to Show Toko­roa can achieve big things.

It is the bi­iggest speech com­pe­ti­tion avail­able to stu­dent’s year 11 to 13 and the best two speak­ers from each re­gion pro­gress­ing to na­tion­als.

Mill­ward said that more stu­dents should take part as there are many op­por­tu­ni­ties to come from them.

‘‘More kids should get in­volved with it be­cause the friends that you make at these com­pe­ti­tions are all quirky and weird and dif­fer­ent,’’ he said.

‘‘It just starts with self-be­lief and once your there you just move for­ward.’’

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