The final round of Trinity College School’s Grade 11 Osler Speaking Contest was held on January 23rd in LeVan Hall. The calibre of this year’s competition was considered by those who have attended many such events to be the highest in at least 15 years.
The contest was initiated by the late Sir Edwin Leather ’37 in honour of the School’s first Head Boy, Sir William Osler. The competition is generously supported by the TCS Parents’ Guild who donated the perpetual trophy some years ago, and who provide the prize money for the winner(s) each year. The judges for this year’s competition were Mrs. Sue Sandford, Mr. Doug Mann and Dr. Michael DuBroy. The students speak on a non Canadian figure who has made a significant impact on the world. Each student speaks about a different person. The speeches are given in class with the top student from each class participating in the final round, in front of the entire grade.
The topics this year were as diverse as Hannibal and Virginia Woolf. After considerable deliberation, the judges decided that two students should share the award. Steven Wei was commended for his terrific portrayal of Hannibal, generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. Seeing his achievements through Hannibal’s eyes, Steven spoke of “his” campaigns including the most famous from Iberia over the Pyrenees and Alps into Northern Italy. Steven spoke without notes, and in his second language. Ryan Williams, the other recipient, spoke on Bertrand Russell, the philospher, historian, social critic and Nobel laureate. Ryan’s delivery effectively alternated between quiet control and increasing passion to bring his subject alive.
The other finalists, in alphabetical order by subject were: Ali Davies, Douglas Bader; Michelle Sprackman, Isak Dinesen; Jesse Mikelberg, Robert Kennedy; Carolyn Leopold, Wilfred Owen; Max Kaufmann, Robespierre; and Alisa Ip, Virginia Woolf. The competition was ably and sympathetically run by the Head Prefect, Francis Sirois, who moved things along smoothly with short jokes and measured control.
- By Pam Dew, head of English