Rotary club hosts young public speakers

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1st place Barett Edenburn – Grade 8, St. Joseph’s School with his speech on The Benefits of a Second Language. Edenburn also received the Ian Nixon Memorial Trophy from Jed Nixon. Photos by Michael Christianson


By Michael Christianson

2nd place Ethan Cook – Grade 8, Open Roads School with his speech on Hurricanes.

Hurricanes, self-esteem, the benefits of a second language, these were the topics chosen for the top three speeches at Rotary’s Performing Arts Luncheon last week in Dryden.

For 15 years Dryden Rotary has been going out into the community and asking grade 7 and 8 students to come up with their best speeches in the hopes of earning the Ian Nixon Memorial Trophy. Nixon had a love for public speaking and this year his son Jed was on hand to deliver the award to the winner.

Rotary members Mardi Plomp said that the speech process begins in September when they send out letters to the schools asking students to prepare their speeches. From there the school chooses their top 12 and then the Rotary Judges make their final decision.

“The outcome is what you see today,” said Plomp. “Our goal is to have students ready to enter the world with their jobs and interviews down the road and be able to talk from their hearts, give eye contact, and be able to be confident so that their chance of getting employment is well.”

3rd place Raili Makela – Grade 8, Open Roads School with her speech on Self Esteem.

This year’s recipient of the Ian Nixon Memorial Trophy was Barett Edenburn for his speech “The benefits of having a second language in your life.” 

“It means a lot to me because speaking is one of my talents and lots of people criticize speaking but I feel it’s very important to the every day life,” said Edenburn. “Rotary hosts a great event, it gets a lot of students thinking and really talking about their feelings on different perspectives and different things in the world.”

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