Local girl Maddy Coombes competed in the regional finals of the Lions Youth Of The Year Quest in Manilla recently.
Nerves were at a premium for the seven contestants from around the New England Region. Along with Maddy, Anna Cameleri from Tamworth, Carl Gower from Tamworth Lions Club, Veronica Omeara from Dungowan, Cameron McCormick from Manilla, Sara Barton from Quirindi and Ryan Parker from Kootingal were set to deliver their best in order to win the Award for their region. Manilla Lions Club conducted the finals and Bingara Lions Club members and Maddys family and her coach, Jan Rose, were there to support Maddy.
The stage was set at the Manilla Central school hall and as soon as the welcome speeches were over it was a full on, hard fought contest as all the students were prepared to go home winners.
Maddy was first up and if that wasn’t hard enough she was also the youngest contestant. The room was so engrossed in the students answers to “on the spot” questions you could hear a pin drop on the wooden floor. It was a hard choice to pick a leader at this stage and the judges had a hard job ahead of them.
The hospitality students prepared and served a wonderful meal for all the guests and no-one could have gone home hungry. Many of the students were in grade 8 and the trays were often bigger than they were but they did an excellent job. Congratulations must go to these students and their teachers as it was truly a huge effort and job well done.
For our students though, the nerves were frayed and the waiting getting harder to bear. Finally, meal cleared away and it was back to business.
The students had to speak for 5 minutes on a prepared subject of their choosing. Maddy again was first up and she gave a brilliant talk on “Getting more out of your life”. Maddy captivated the audience with her knowledge and well spoken speech which started with a quote from Benjamin Franklin. “You may delay but time does not”.
This set the theme for what was the most interesting speech from such a young contestant I have heard. It was well spoken and timed to perfection. We were all very proud of Maddy and held our breath throughout the remainder of the contestants speeches.
The competition was tough and of a very high standard, the audience very glad the decision was not theirs to make. Parents sat on the edge of their seats willing their child to do well. The announcement of the winner, 17 year old student from Tamworth, Anna Camileri, was a popular choice though as Anna never faulted throughout the night.
Her speech was clear and defined and she knew her subject well. Anna was a well deserved winner and will go on to State Finals in Armidale. Anna also won the Public Speaking Award on the night, again very well deserved. We wish Anna all the best in the State finals and will be watching her progress throughout the contest.
For our Maddy the experience was one she will never forget and with another year under her she will come back fighting fit for next years round. Maddy was very close to Anna in points and for one so young and for her very first time in this competition, that is a very high achievement.
Bingara Lions Club Sponsor students in Bingara to participate in the Quest This is a great opportunity to learn public speaking skills and improve self esteem in young students. Anna wishes to go into the Military as an Intelligence Officer and she will do well as she has a confidence and grace that will see her do well in anything she wishes to do. Maddy’s experience will also improve her confidence and strengthen her resolve to do well in her chosen career.
If you would like to know more or to participate in next years contest please speak to any Lions members or your school representatives. Lions meet on first and third Tuesdays of the month, Leos meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month. For information on Lions or Leos please contact any Lions member.