Student in public speaking state final

Elizabeth Smart with Lions district governor David Lowing.

CAMPERDOWN’S Elizabeth Smart will challenge four of the state’s best public speakers after winning a Colac district final.

The Year 12 Mercy Regional College student took overall honours at a Lions Club Youth of the Year competition, while Colac Trinity College captain Paul O’Shea won a public speaking award.

The competition involves making prepared and impromptu speeches, and an interview with judges.

Elizabeth’s prepared speech was about the Anzac spirit and the impromptu talks were about kangaroo culling and Sudan’s humanitarian crisis.

Elizabeth said the competition was a worthwhile experience because it prepared her for future challenges.

“It was a great experience, and the interviews especially because it prepares you for job interviews, other competitions and other situations,” she said.

“The public speaking I haven’t managed to crack yet, I’m still working on that but overall it’s good practice.

“Also you have the experience of meeting kids who have like interests, because you have to be the sort of person who likes to speak publicly and express your opinions.”

Elizabeth will contest the state final on April 14.

“I’m very excited about that, it was a little bit of a surprise really,” she said.

“Because being in Year 12, you have your studies to focus on as well.”

The district final’s five other contestants were from Point Cook, Lara, Warrnambool, Hamilton and Dimboola.

Paul said the quality at the competition was “very strong”.

“The other participants were all remarkable people as well,” he said.

“It was a really enjoyable night, it was a unique thing to do because there aren’t many opportunities for young people to engage in public speaking and put forward their own views.

“The thing I take away was that there’s a lot of good to come from the youth.

“In the media, the youth don’t get a fair run and perhaps there’s a lot of great ideas and really good motives that come from the youth that maybe adults can learn a bit from.”

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