Muswellbrook youngster wins public speaking prize

MUSWELLBROOK’S James Drayton has returned from the District Judging of the Lions Youth of the Year Quest with the public speaking trophy.

The St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen student entered the competition as a contestant following the Muswellbrook Lions Club round of judging. 

At the end of that, he had won not only the public speaking prize, but was deemed the overall winner.

At the next stage, James – supported by his family and members of Muswellbrook Lions and Lioness clubs – travelled to Dunedoo where he claimed the public speaking title.

Again, he was judged to be the overall winner.

On April 9, James attended the District Judging of the Lions Youth of the Year Quest in Windale (Newcastle).

The competition was quite tough with four other regional winners including Zane Norris (Terrigal High School), Georgia O’Sullivan (Warners Bay High School), Rizina Yadav (Merewether High School) and Luke Keating (Irrawang High School).

“The contestants arrived well before the speech night and each participated in an interview with the judges,” Muswellbrook Lions’ Mark Elsley said.

“This allowed the judges to find out a little more about each of them in regards to academic, cultural, sporting interests and hobbies.

“The public speaking section required each contestant to answer two impromptu questions: if Disney had never existed would the world be a less happy place; and what do you predict Australia’s living standards will be in 50 years’ time?

“On the completion of the impromptus, each contestant presented a prepared speech of no more than five minutes.

“There was quite a variety of subjects including the generation gap; organ and tissue transplants; save the planet; abuse of referees; and technology, men versus women.

“The judges then retired to a quiet area to deliberate on who would win the public speaking and who would be the overall winner and proceed to the next level of judging, that being the State Final at Raymond Terrace.”

Mr Elsley said the chairman of the judging panel, Wyong’s Phillip Morley, commended each of the participants.

“He commented on the five speeches, providing some positive feedback and making remarks from his own experiences in regards to organ and tissue transplants (James’ speech).

“On deliberation, James was declared the winner of the public speaking.

“He had come up against Rizina in a previous competition, which Rizina [Yadav] had won.

“But, this time around, James came out ahead.

“However, he was pipped at the end by Rizina who was declared the overall winner of the Lions Youth of the Year Quest district final.”

Mr Elsley said the Lions Youth of the Year Quest was a project of the combined Lions Clubs of Australia and Papua New Guinea, to select an outstanding youth to be an ambassador to his/her country and travel overseas under the auspices of Lions Clubs International.

“It’s designed to foster, encourage and develop leadership in conjunction with other citizenship qualities of our youth, at an age when they are about to enter the fields of employment or higher education.”

TERRIFIC ACHIEVEMENT: James Drayton with his parents, Jeff and Susan Drayton.

TERRIFIC ACHIEVEMENT: James Drayton with his parents, Jeff and Susan Drayton.