We are only 7 years ‘old’ and since being chartered have conducted an annual Public Speaking competition for local primary (elementary) schools – principally for grade 6 students.
The idea came from two of our charter members who visited a club in New Zealand and saw this type of event being held. Our club adapted the model and has been running it ever since. So successful is the idea that in 2010 our District (District 9810 – 49 clubs) recommended it as an initiative for other clubs to follow. Several clubs have.
All of that is by way of background. Our finals were conducted on August 30 this year and I acted as MC. As an educator, what impresses me on each occasion this event is held is the passionate presentations by the students, and no more so than this year. By way of introduction to the night I advised the 10 finalists (from 5 schools) by quoting Doctor Zeus:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”
Below are my comments or quotes on each speaker’s presentation and a brief summary by my fellow MC from Toastmasters while the judges were deliberating:
Judges comment: “a very thoughtful speech”
Happiness is “immersion in an activity or goal…a feeling of accomplishment when you do a good deed” (Charlie) – finalist
Judges comment: “profound thoughts and good humor”
“I love my mum, even though she embarrasses, …she would do anything for me…” (Holly) – 2nd place winner
Judges comment: “Good use of humor and a very expressive speech”
“I was born in Chile and arrived in Australia when I was 3. Australia is a great place to live because people are polite and friendly, it is multi-cultural….” (Luna) – finalist
Judges comment: “Confident presentation and well put together”
“Happiness is a smiley face – an emoticon – so simple but so complex; as simple as things like enjoying favorite foods; complex because happiness often comes with other emotions…elation..achievement…joy..pleasure..concentration..anticipation..excitement..” (Daniel) – 3rd place winner
Judges comment: “Well crafted and strong delivery of speech”
“If I had superpowers I would take away three negatives – racism, cancer, poverty” (Lachlan) – finalist
Judges comment: “Good detail and knew the topic well”
”…. but it was about having a conversation…that will always be special” (Nicholas) – 1st place winner
Judges comment: “Great energy and humor; very expressive and energetic presentation”
“My happiest experience…. a roller coaster ride at Disneyland.. excited, nervous, scared, numb.” “ups, downs and loops……again! again!” (Emily) – finalist
Judges comment: “Great vocal variety”
“1.4 billion people in the world live below the poverty line -1 billion of them children” If I could change the world…. I would get cured…the hungry, the homeless, poverty” (Harry) – finalist
Judges comment: “Strong speech with a call to action”
“Happiness… people search for happiness without even realizing it… happy minds lead to healthy bodies…… you choose happiness” (Zara) – finalist
Judges comment: “Expressive voice and well researched”
What words can I add to the extracts above from the students themselves to explain further the sheer talent, confidence, competence… and passion, of the 10 finalists of the MASH 7th Primary Public Speaking Competition ?
The prevailing themes of the speakers tended to revolve around ‘happiness’ or the cure for ‘unhappiness”.
I’d like to share some of the words I scribbled onto my MC notes by way of summary about each speaker – passionate, emotive, confident, profound thoughts, confident, passionate, clear, confident, informed and real, great, great content, clear diction, confident, powerful, expressive gestures, passionate, great punch-line, passionate, confident, great research, great content, passionate.
Simple summary really: passionate, confident, and great. These students were not even born when the film “Flashdance” adorned the cinemas  and the theme song – “What a feeling” was a number 1 hit on the charts. But they embraced what the film was all about and what one line of the lyrics so aptly describes “Take your passion and make it happen”
The final word
If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it might be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you” (T. Alan Armstrong, Author.)