The national finals of the Lions Clubs Young Speechmaker contest were held at Auckland University Epsom Campus on Saturday.
The winner was Georgia-Rae Taylor from Christchurch (right), sponsored by Wigram Lions Club. The youngest of the 16 finalists, Georgia is a Year 12 student at Villa Maria College. Second was Kerry McNulty, a Year 13 student at Chilton St James School in Lower Hutt; she was sponsored by Silverstream Lions Club. Third place went to Lydia Vershaffelt, Year 13 at Mount Maunganui College and sponsored by Mount Maunganui Lions Club. Lucy Shand from Kerikeri High School was highly commended. She was sponsored by Waipapa and District Lions Club.
Eighty-nine students entered the contest, with the final 16 being selected from competitions held in the seven Lions districts. Sponsored by Entertainment International NZ Ltd, the annual event has been held for over 40 years with this year’s winner receiving a trip to Canada and the United States during the Christmas-New Year holidays. Second place getter receives a trip to Australia, and third place receives a placement at an international youth camp at Lake Okataina near Rotorua.
Open to 17 to 20-year-olds, each entrant makes a five-minute prepared speech and an impromptu speech of up to two minutes.
Contest organiser, Kerry Beach of Hamilton, is amazed at the talent of contestants: “Each year you think they can’t get any better, but they do. That’s why we need to have strict judging criteria”, he said. Judges consider voice and grammar, speech structure, development and speech value and effectiveness.
Below: Kerry McNulty, Kerry Beach and Georgia-Rae Taylor.