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June 20, 2014
Laron’s double delight

For the second time in less than one week, Laron Jones has proven that he is a cut above the rest.

On Wednesday, nine students from across the country competed in the 11th Primary Schools’ Public Speaking Competition and spoke on the topic, “Small Creatures, Big Threats – Stop Vector Borne Diseases.”{{more}}

However, it was Jones of the Questelles Government School who emerged victorious.

The 11-year-old made headlines earlier this week for being the top student nationally, in the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA).

“I’m very happy and excited for completing this, for being the top student of the competition,” Jones told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday evening.

Jones was also a participant in the 2013 Primary Schools’ Public Speaking Competition. In that event, he was able to place first in the prepared speech category and was second overall.

This year, the Twenty Hill resident was also first in the prepared speech and second in the impromptu category, where he spoke on the topic, “What are some of the causes of global warming?”

“Even though it was not my first time, I was still kind of nervous,” he said.

“The impromptu I thought was a struggle but I think I did well. It wasn’t the best of topics that I got, I think I did well. For the prepared speech, I think I did a good job because I learnt it so I was able to speak fluently.”

Jones’ mother, La Fleur Jones told SEARCHLIGHT that she was proud of her son’s performance as he gave “a good account of himself”.

“He worked for it. What he did, he went, he researched the topic and what we did, we just polished it up and added a little more to it. Most of it was his and we just add flesh on it and gave him to learn. He did most of the practicing on his own because he loves those things,” she revealed.

Kayla Ballantyne of the Windsor Primary School placed second and was also the winner of the impromptu category, where she spoke on the topic, “If you had a million dollars to give away, who would you give it to and why?”

Kingstown Preparatory School student, Mikayla Friday walked away with the third place spot.

In an overview of the competition, senior education officer and competition judge, Gwyneth Cambridge congratulated the participants on having well researched speeches which was seen through their focus on vector control.

“We noted your recommendations. They were very timely and you must be commended on that. You were able to source information and you were able to refer to the sites from which you garnered your information,” Cambridge said.

However, Cambridge highlighted that there were certain weaknesses that should be addressed by teachers, particularly since the competition has been in existence for the past 11 years.

“First of all we noticed that pronunciation was still an issue so we’ve got to work on the way we articulate those words. There are some words that will give the children problems and teachers are advised to work with them on that,” she said.

“Secondly, children have to be taught how to interface with the audience. So it is all well and good to read the speech that has been prepared but they must be able to do what we call ‘refer to the notes’. So while they are allowed to read yes, total reading affects the impact on the audience because you cannot read and still have some kind of interface, some kind of control with audience response. “

The top three students in the Digicel sponsored event went home with new gadgets. For copping the first position, Jones was rewarded with a desktop computer. Ballantyne was given a Samsung laptop while Friday received a Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Other participants included Angelica McDonald of Belmont Government School, Xaverna Black of Evesham Methodist School, Oslya Ollivierre of Bequia Primary School, Jaydel King of Barrouallie Government School, Zunia Baptiste of the C.W Prescod Primary School and Kyla Rawlins of Marriaqua Government School.(BK)