If you wanted to know where the great orators of tomorrow are today, you wouldn’t have had to go further than Markham council chambers this past weekend. There, you would have been able to witness the 12th annual Effective Speaking Contest, organized by the Ontario York Region Lion’s Club, where some of the best young public speakers tried their hand at the art of word where the pros hold sway every week.
Twenty-seven contestants from between Grades 4 and 9 were vying for honours that would take them to the regional finals later this month at Newmarket. The judging panel (Markham Deputy Mayor Don Hamilton, former Regional Councillor Nirmala Armstrong, consultant Jeffrey Shek and Vaughan Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco) put the young leaders through their paces.
The Lion’s organization has long supported public speaking competitions, with versions of the contest being organized around the world for a number of decades. While each zone differs somewhat in their structure, it is typically open to all students of separate, private and public school systems with categories up to Grade 12. Each contestant is required to prepare a speech of up to five minutes in length on a topic of their choice.
The first-place winners from each division will be sponsored by the Ontario York Region Heritage Lions Club advancing to the Lions Club District A-16 Effective Speaking Contest, which will be held on March 23 at Trinity United Church in Newmarket, with the finals being held May 3-5 in Sarnia.
The winners were, in order: intermediates Diego Cina, Emersen Silva, Resanth Rameshwaran and juniors Dev Kochhar, Alexander Barsoum, Grace Tan.
Photo: Winners and judges of the Lions Club Effective Speaking Contest pose in the Markham council chambers where the contest was held. (l-r) Grace Tan, judge Jeffrey Shek, Dev Kochlar, judge Nirmala Armstrong, judge Sandra Yeung Racco, Emersen Silva, Markham Deputy Mayor Don Hamilton, Resanth Rameshwaran, Alexander Barsoum, Diego Cina, Ontario York Region Lions president and Markham Ward 8 councillor Isa Lee.