Primary & Intermediate Speech Finals 2020
Lois Flanagan
This year’s speech contest was the biggest for many years with 67 students from 9 schools competing in the preliminary rounds. It was a real pleasure to welcome 2 new schools this year- Ilam and Emmanuel Christian School.
Thursday 17 September was the day for the preliminary rounds. Topics for the speeches ranged from the lofty subjects of Bullying, Black Lives Matter, Health and Obesity and Child Labour, to lighter topics of Ice Cream, Lego and Annoying siblings.  One young man told us Rugby is Dangerous, while sporting a large black eye he got from playing hockey! 
The judges had a hard task to select 4 finalists in each of Years 5, 6, 7 & 8. In the end there was a good variety of schools represented in the final 16 with every school which competed having at least one student in the final. My grateful thanks to the 4 preliminary round judges: Donna Cherry, Ken McNee, Jennifer O’Leary & Grant Paice who did a fantastic job of choosing the finalists. Thanks also to the timekeepers, Keith Mitchell and Gordon Shields who kept everyone on the right time.
It was a wonderful night of entertainment at the Finals at Heaton Intermediate Performing Arts Centre last Thursday night. Parents and friends filled the theatre to enjoy the speeches. Our judges for the final were our own Rotary Associate Sarah Pride and a new judge this year: John Ballantyne from Bishopdale Toastmasters. 
The finals kept the audience well entertained with spirited speeches on the History of Make-up, Ethical Fashion, the advantages of Singing and Jet Pack Transport. Two of the first place winners were speeches from students who each spoke with passion & humour about the challenges of living with Diabetes and Celiac Disease. 
We congratulate all the students who took part in the competition on their commitment, skills and courage in standing up in front of an audience and performing so well. The finalists were all superb and special congratulations to them all.
Special thanks to Heaton Intermediate School who welcome us so warmly every year and provide the rooms and the Performing Arts Centre for us to use.  Thank you also to Gordon Shields for getting the gift vouchers and to Tony Tizzard who prepares and beautifully hand writes all the Certificates.  
The speech contest has been going for 26 years and is a great way Papanui Rotary can be involved in the community and make a difference to young peoples’ lives. 
Make sure you book a seat for next year’s finals!