Selman captures the Public Speaking title for BCK
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October 30, 2012
Selman captures the Public Speaking title for BCK

A Form 5 student of the Bishop’s College Kingstown is champion of the 2012 Lions Club St Vincent South Secondary Schools National Public Speaking Competition.{{more}}

In the competition, sponsored by telecommunications company LIME, Lexie Selman won the new, Lion Michael Defreitas MJF Challenge Trophy after an almost clean sweep Thursday at the Kingstown Methodist Church Hall.

On her way to victory, the Redemption Sharpes resident battled through three rounds of keen competition from five other competitors.

She took the top spots for the main topic “Capitalism has failed. The case for a different economic system”. And she also wooed the judges with her students’ prepared speech, “Blackberries”.

Selman’s victory foiled a beaver trick attempt by the St Vincent Grammar School, represented by Kyle James.

The Grammar School was second, while Niasha Mofford of the Girls’ High School rounded off the top three.

Mofford gained the judges nod in the Impromptu topic segment with her speech on “Everyone should be a volunteer”.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT just after her win, Selman said she was “surprised” when she was announced as the winner.

“I feel really proud winning here tonight,” she remarked.

Selman thanked, among others, those who helped her prepare for the competition, especially her teacher, Melissa George.

“Preparations were really rough and I had to endure sleepless nights, but I made it…” she said.

In discussing her main speech, a well-poised Selman mentioned that in capitalism, all factors of production are privately owned and there is minimal interference by government in the economic activities of the country.

She, however, stated that “it does not exist anywhere in its complete form, for example in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, capitalism is present but with some form of intervention from the government…”

Selman, who spoke for nine minutes and 25 seconds, said it was through capitalism that some of the world’s major businesses were able to grow, expand, innovate and be productive.

Selman said: “If one really ponder on the advantages of capitalism one would definitely realise that the term capitalism is not associated with failure, as it allows the average person the opportunity to survive and to thrive.

“… The history of capitalism provides countless instances of people who improved their lives through work and ability. This is especially evident in our own country where small business owners were able to grow and expand their industry,” she said.

Selman used as examples KFC and C.K. Greaves & Co Ltd, noting the expanding number of outlets.

“One also needs to consider the many opportunities for employment that these businesses have offered to Vincentians. Does this sound like a system that has failed?” Selman said.

For her students’ prepared speech, which was again keenly contested, Selman with her topic, “Blackberries”, was clearly one of the crowd favourites in that segment.

She said the lives of young persons seem to centre around the handheld devices.

While it is has many useful purposes, Selman stressed that the device is also doing harm to young people.

“It seems that in many cases, these blackberries have been stretched beyond their limit and they seem to be causing more harm than good…” she further said, as she mentioned some of the shorthand used when sending text messages on handheld devices.

“It is therefore no surprise that this is reflected in students’ own writing. Is it possible that this type of writing can be blamed for the poor performance of students in English Language and English Literature examinations?”

She said some parents, ensuring that their children have Blackberries rather than their books, compound the situation.

“Sometimes, a student may complain about not owning a particular text book, but this same student owns a Blackberry smartphone.”

In addition to bagging the first Michael DeFreitas MJF Challenge trophy, which was changed from the Arthur Connell Challenge Trophy, in honour of the late Lion, Michael DeFreitas, Selman also received a trophy, $1,500 from LIME and a further $500 just for participating. She was presented the Challenge Trophy by Pat DeFreitas, widow of Mr DeFreitas, and his daughter Michelle.

LIME will also offer her advertising opportunities.

Making her voice heard loudly in the impromptu speech segment, Niasha Mofford spoke on “Everyone should be a volunteer”.

Mofford, who delivered her speech with much eloquence, described a volunteer as a person who gives their time freely for no expected return.

“As a guide, I am a volunteer, as a ranger, I am a volunteer, as a brownie, I was a volunteer… It also allows you to influence others positively and help our overall self-development.

“I think everyone should become a volunteer; not just for a good name, but in order to be able to say at the end of the day, I made a difference in someone’s life.”

Mofford told SEARCHLIGHT after the competition that she was very “glad” that she did well for her school.

“I’m pretty sure that I did every GHS student proud. I guess everybody came into the competition thinking they would have won, but the judges made the best decision at the end of the day,” she said.

As for second placed James, he said he made a “few” errors in his main speech, but stated that he was “satisfied” with the results.

“I did my student prepared speech justice. I know I didn’t handle the impromptu speech too well. I guess it was an awkward topic, but I think I did well…” said James, whose “Things I won’t eat” resulted in a few chuckles from the audience.

The other finalists were D’nain Johnson of the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia, Delight Ollivierre of the Mountain View Adventist Academy and Sylvorn Lavia of the North Union Secondary.

Each student was awarded $500 for participation and $200 went to the teachers who assisted them. The winning teacher received an extra $800 for assisting Selman.

All the finalists also earned scholarships towards their two-year academic programme at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.

The finals also heard brief remarks from Ronald Christopher, president of the Lions Club St Vincent South; Carlton Hall, senior education officer in the Ministry of Education; Leslie Jack, Country Manager of LIME; and Elvis Charles, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.

LIME this year increased their sponsorship of the event by 45 per cent and the prizes for the finalists and winners were also enhanced. (KW)