Legion Public Speaking Competition selects three youth to represent Manitoulin

The Island Legion Public Speaking Competition winners, who will go on to represent Manitoulin at the next competition in Sudbury later this month are, from right, primary division winner Erik Wahl, intermediate divison winner Amber Wahl and junior divison winner Jocelyn Kuntsi. photo by Robin Burridge

LITTLE CURRENT—The Little Current Royal Canadian Legion Branch 117 Public Speaking Competition, hosted the Island wide public speaking competition recently, selecting three youth to represent Manitoulin Island at the area competition in Sudbury.

The competition started with the induction of the judges: Melissa Peters, Debby Turner and Wendy Gauthier, followed by Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) public speaking winner Sandi Kuntsi kicking off the afternoon with her speech on her time in Kenya volunteering with ME to WE and the dreams of the children she met there. Sandi will be representing Manitoulin at the high school level of the competition in Sudbury.

In the primary division, Grade 1-3, first place went to Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) Grade 1 student Erik Wahl for his speech on his big sister. Second place was awarded to Grade 3 Lakeview School student Aspen Debassige, while third place went to Grade 3 Assiginack Public School (APS) student Xavier Mara and fourth, to Grade 2 Little Current Public School (LCPS) student Garrett Charbonneau.

Erik was very enthusiastic during his speech, emphasizing funny moments growing up with his sister and the ups and downs of their relationship.

“I don’t know what went wrong,” said Erik. “She loved me when I was a baby. Now she only wants to play girly, boring games. I have to say I miss the good old days.”

But Erik said when he still really needs his sister, she’s there for him.

“When I need a snack, to kill a bug or when I can’t reach things on a high shelf,” Erik said of when his sister comes through for him. “She loves me and is always there for me when I need her the most.”

He cheekily concluded his speech, giving his sister a B+.

Xavier spoke confidently about the chupacabra and the legends around the strange creature during his speech, while Aspen spoke of monarchs and concluded her speech by singing a butterfly release song in Ojibwe.

Garrett talked about Lego and how all you need is your “imagination, creativity and Lego” to have fun.

In the junior division, Grade 4-6, Grade 5 student Jocelyn Kuntsi from APS placed first for her speech on memory. Second place went to Grade 5 CMPS student Kate Chapman for her speech on child soldiers, while third went to Lakeview student Alex Joshua Mathews with his speech on vipers and fourth, to CMPS student Ethan Cooper on building a house.

Jocelyn began her speech by joking that she had forgotten her cue cards. She then launched into some surprising facts such as that adults forget three things per day, which is 93 things a month.

“When you learn you only remember forty percent of what has been taught,” explained Jocelyn. “Usually the most important details stick for the longest or what you think is important.”

Throughout her speech, she also shared tips to help people remember, such as turning knowledge into a song. “Another way to remember things is to say it over and over until it sticks,” she added.

“I probably have about one hundred things I am forgetting about right now like my homework,” joked Jocelyn, concluding her speech. “Sorry about that, Mr. Mailloux. I better do it right away. Uh oh, I forgot the assignment at home! Well, at least I remembered my speech!”

The intermediate division was won by Grade 8 CMPS student Amber Wahl for her comical speech on home renovations. Second place was awarded to Grade 7 Lakeview student Darci Debassige. Third place went to Grade 8 LCPS student Rheanne Green, while fourth place went to Grade 7 APS student Skye Setterington.

Similar to her little brother, Amber was also very expressive and funny during her speech on home renovations.

“Personally, I don’t like them,” she said. “I can handle change, but not all the stuff to get there.”

Amber explained the various stages of home renovations, such as the discussion or ‘argument phase.’

She concluded her speech, saying that she is fine without doing any home renovations and wouldn’t mind “a pink kitchen with shag carpet.”

Darci talked about Canadian stereotypes and what being Canadian really means.

Rheanne’s speech on shadow people was terrifying, discussing the urban legends around mysterious shadow people, while Skye talked about the invention of basketball, volleyball and baseball.

The top three competitors in each division received medals and a cash prize, while all competitors received certificates.

Erik, Jocelyn, Amber and Sandi will all be going on to represent Manitoulin in their divisions at the next level of the Royal Canadian Legion Public Speaking Competition in Sudbury on Sunday, February 21.