Province's top public speakers compete at TCS

Public speakers and debaters from across Ontario descended on the Trinity College School campus on Friday for the provincial qualifying round of the CanWest National Public Speaking Competition. Close to 50 students from more than a dozen schools took part in the competition, with TCS represented by Year 3 student Vera Liang, and Year 4 students Michael Machum and Donovon Kellyman.

The event began with a briefing at 3:00 p.m. in LeVan Hall, after which competitors and judges headed to various rooms in the W.A. Johnson Classroom Block for the three competitive sessions: impromptu speaking, parliamentary debate and persuasive speaking.

During the impromptu session, each student was offered a choice of three topics drawn from popular sayings and, following a two-minute preparation period, had to deliver a five-minute speech on the topic.

This round was followed by an impromptu parliamentary debate where students were paired with a partner from another school to represent either the government or the opposition. Once the resolutions were revealed, debaters were given 30 minutes in which to define and prepare their argument, followed by seven-minute speeches by each competitor and a three-minute rebuttal for each side.

The final round featured persuasive speaking, where each student delivered a prepared speech of up to thirteen minutes that identified a major problem and offered solutions to that problem.

The top students overall were Radissen Ramoutar from St. Andrew's (who was also first in impromptu speaking), Genevieve Antono from Branksome, Erik Reed from Royal St. George's and Cyrus Aga from Appleby. All of them have qualified for the CanWest National Tournament. Top debater was Iain Buerger from Ridley, and the top persuasive speaker was Genevieve Laurier from Country Day School.

The CanWest National Public Speaking Contest will be held February 9-12, 2007 at St. John's-Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg. Top speakers from the national competition will head to the World Public Speaking Championships to be held at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut in late March 2007.