33 elementary students from 11 schools in School District 60 were at the North Peace Cultural Centre Thursday morning as they were competing in the district’s speech contest. To qualify the students had to be nominated from their respective schools to take part in the event.
C.M. Finch principal and event emcee Helen Gilbert said public speaking ties in with the oral aspects of the language arts curriculum, and it provides students with a chance to express their ideas.
“If you look at our language arts curriculum there are three strands that we report on,” she said. “We report on reading, writing, and oral language. One of the things with public speaking is it really is an opportunity to showcase the oral language component of our curriculum. Some of these students are getting up and sharing ideas and sharing them confidently.”
One of the adjudicators on hand evaluating the speeches was School District 60 assistant superintendent Stephen Petrucci. He said the event is of particular importance given how common it is to be fearful of public speaking, and how it’s needed in future years.
“I think it’s really clear that public speaking is probably still the number one public fear,” he said. “Any practice that our students get in public speaking is going to serve them very well. There’s always an opportunity and a necessity for speaking in front of people.”
He also noted in his comments the hard work and dedication that went into the speeches, and how the judges were paying particular attention to the introductions, delivery, the overall material, and the conclusion.