On Sunday, February 11th, the Royal Canadian Legion in Millbrook hosted the annual Youth Education Public Speaking Contest.
Participants were invited from all local elementary schools, and three entrants joined each of the two age categories, all from North Cavan Public School and presented their speeches in front of an appreciative audience of friends, family and judges.
Participants in the youngest age group are in grades 1 to 3. Emily Schad recounted the backwards tale of Little Pea, a legume forced to eat candy in order to earn a bowl of spinach for dessert. A more familiar children’s story was also put on its head by Jordon Molloy who told a version of Red Riding Hood that was much more sympathetic to the wolf than the more familiar version. In addition to telling her story, she nimbly animated the story’s action using a four-sided doll representing the story’s central characters. Dressed in a stylish riding outfit, Olivia Simpson charted her own course by describing an unfortunate turn of events during a horseback riding competition where her horse had different ideas about how to impress the judges.
The three contestants in grades four through six followed the younger participants with their own stories. Ainsley Dreossi wondered aloud what the world would be like if wizards were among us. Hannah Schad’s talk took a more serious tone, as she described her father’s recent hip replacement surgery and the impact it had on their family as he regained his ability to participate more actively in their shenanigans. The final speaker, Islay Moore, offered a condensed interpretation of the history of some of the original Greek gods.
Participants in this competition have already been recognized by their classmates and their schools, and winners Emily Schad and Ainsely Dreossi are eligible to move on into the zone competition which will take place later in Norwood, and ultimately compete at the provincial level in Ottawa.
All contestants demonstrated an ability to entertain the audience and maintained their composure and their animated and expressive gestures. Their decision to embrace the challenge of performing in front of an audience is building a critical life skill that will serve them well in the future. Congratulations to these resourceful and poised participants and thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion for hosting these annual events that allow our youth to hone their presentation skills in a supportive environment. KG