MANITOULIN—Two students from opposite ends of Manitoulin Island and grades will be travelling to Ottawa to take part in the Royal Canadian Legion Public Speaking provincial championships. Grade 11 student Alexis French, of Sheguiandah, and C.C. McLean Public School Grade 2 student Patrick McCann, of Gore Bay, each won their divisions at the Zone championships held recently in Callander.
“I am really looking forward to having some competition this time,” laughed Ms. French, noting that she received a bye in two of her competitions in Little Current and North Bay, and only had one competitor in Callander. “This time I will be up against two other speakers. “I really prefer to have competition, because that way I will know if my speech is any good.” Having seen her delivery at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 177 hall in Little Current, this author can attest to Ms. French’s public speaking abilities as being outstanding. Her speech warns of the very real dangers of the online world, including viruses and phishing attempts, and how to protect yourself against identity theft and the high tech gangsters of the digital age.
Ms. French said she is looking forward to getting out to the big city to do some shopping. “If I can get my dad to take me,” she laughed. Ms. French and her father will set out on the Friday so that she has time to rest up before taking to the stage. “It is a pretty long drive. We will be staying over on the Saturday so we don’t have an eight hour drive back after the competition,” she said.
The competitors will take to their podiums at 12 noon sharp, she noted. “They are hoping to have it all completed by 3:30 pm.”
Seven-year-old Patrick McCann knew what was up when contacted by The Expositor following his win. “I am going to Ottawa,” he said.
The young Mr. McCann’s address deals with the trials and tribulations of ‘Being Seven.’
“My mom helped me pick out the topic,” he said. “It’s based on the all the work my parents make me do. I am getting tired of it,” he sighed with mock despair.
Mr. McCann said that he hopes to see the prime minister while he is in the nation’s capital and maybe take in a few museums. And if he wins the competition in Ottawa? “We go to Vegas,” he shouts.
Dennis McCann, Patrick’s father, laughs. “We took a family vacation to Las Vegas this past March Break,” he said. “He is definitely seven.”
It might not be Vegas, but one student and one parent from each of the divisions get an all-expense paid trip to the site of the provincial finals—and the prizes are nothing to sneeze at. First place in Ms. French’s division is a cool $1,000 and $200 in Mr. McCann’s division—could be a great shopping trip ahead for Ms. French.