Madawaska Valley youth speak at Legion

Intermediate Level winners  Photo: Mark Woermke

Twelve young people, supported by parents, grandparents and siblings, gathered at the Legion Branch 406 in Barry’s Bay on the morning of Saturday Feb. 17 to participate in Stage One of the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Ontario Command Public Speaking Contest. Of the twelve, four are students at Killaloe Public School, two attend George Vanier Catholic School in Combermere, and six are home schooled.

A wonderful opportunity

Three of Richard Shaw’s children participated in the contest. He said,

This event is an example of what makes this such a great community. My children always enjoy it. It is a wonderful opportunity, but it would be nice to see more young people participating.

Winners by level

At the Primary Level, Liam Wagner from Killaloe Public School placed third for his speech on hockey, Rivko Reimer from George Vanier Catholic School placed second for his speech on chess, and Mackenzie O’Brien from Killaloe Public School took first place for her speech on cats.

At the Junior Level Luetta Reimer from George Vanier came in third for her speech Living Off-Grid, Peter Shaw finished second for his speech Stan Lee: Comic Book Creator, and Elena Shaw placed first for her speech Barry’s Bay, My Favourite Place to Live.

At the Intermediate Level Thomas Nicholson came in third place with Why Things are Funny?, John Paul Shaw achieved second with The Battle of Britain, and Madeleine Nicholson placed first with The Different Kinds of Tears. (Pictured above L-R: Thomas Nicholson, Madeleine Nicholson, Heather Poliquin convenor, John Paul Shaw)

Junior level winner likes public speaking

This is the third year that Elena Shaw has participated in the Legion’s public speaking contest, but it is the first time she has placed first.

It is good practice for when you are older,

she said. She was eager to encourage other young people to participate in future public speaking contests:

I like it, and I think they would like it too.

Barry’s Bay is her favourite place to live

In her speech, Elena shared some of the reasons why she likes living in Barry’s Bay,

a wonderful town with forests, a beautiful lake, nice people living there, good shops, and lovely houses.

Elena took her listeners on a cultural, economic and environmental tour of her village:

There are lots of nice shops in Barry’s Bay, like Metro, Tim Hortons, Stedmans, and there is also a library. The library has lots of good books. There is also an art gallery … There is a lake and some woods as well. In the lake you can go swimming and fishing and you can see it from our kitchen window. It is fun to do things in the lake and in the woods.

Elena Shaw, Junior Level winner    Photo: Mark Woermke

Elena’s proud grandfather, who is visiting from Buckinghamshire England, joked that she might have to change her speech to Why Eganville is My Favourite Place to Live because the zone public speaking finals will be held there. Two of his grandsons were also winners in the competition.

Impressed by high standard

Mark Woermke, one of the judges, praised the young speakers:

The quality of the speaking was very good. As a teacher, I see this as a good opportunity for young people to develop self-confidence and skill.

On her way home after a busy morning, Gladys Bellisle, a tireless community booster and volunteer from Combermere made this observation:

This is wonderful. I give them a lot of credit for just standing up there. Good for them! – It would be nice, though, if this place were full.

Praise for volunteers

Following the speeches, Judge Bev Burchat expressed her appreciation for those working behind the scenes.

Kudos to the Legion for organizing this, and to the legion and community volunteers who made this possible.

The event was convened by Legion member Heather Poliquin. The judges were Bev Burchat, Michael Poliquin and Mark Woermke. Maureen Braceland and Bill Cunliffe took the speakers’ registrations. Gwynneth Foster and Gladys Belisle were the time-keepers. Donna Chapeskie and Randy Burchat served as scrutineers, tabulating the scores. The participants, observers and volunteers were grateful to Kevin Chapeskie and Ethel Ryan who helped make the day run smoothly, and to Jenny Visneskie who prepared the hot lunch which everyone was invited to share.

Volunteers make things happen. (L-R) Back: Bill Cunliffe, Randy Burchat, Ethel Ryan. Middle: Mark Woermke, Bev Burchat, Heather Poliquin, Donna Chapeskie, Mike Poliquin. Front: Gwynneth Foster, Gladys Bellisle. Absent from photo: Maureen Braceland, Kevin Chapeskie, Jenny Visneskie.  Photo: John Paul Shaw

The Royal Canadian Legion Public Speaking zone finals will be held in Eganville on Saturday March 3.



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