Naracoorte High School

Lion’s Youth of the Year Finalist!

On the 20th February, three Year 12 students, Zach Pope, Jake Stewart and Russell Uyanguren, competed in the Naracoorte Lion’s Youth of the Year competition.

This involved students preparing a five minute persuasive speech on a topic of their choice, that would also interest their audience. Students also prepared an application that reflected their achievements in a range of categories including leadership, sporting, academic and cultural activities. From this, students sat a 30-minute interview during which the three judges asked them numerous questions about our community, evaluating their general knowledge. On the evening, a Lion’s dinner meeting was held during which Zach, Jake and Russell presented their prepared speeches and tackled two impromptu speech topics. Congratulations to all students, and a special shoutout to Zach Pope who presented a persuasive speech on the ‘negative impacts of fracking’, and well-rounded impromptus on ‘an individual’s role in raising global awareness’ and ‘who would you take to lunch?’, winning both the Lion’s Youth of the Year and the Public Speaking award, moving onto the Regional Final.

On the 5th March, Zach participated in the Regional Final, held at Kingston. Here Zach competed against two other students from Keith and Lucindale. Once again, Zach submitted an application, sat an interview, presented his five-minute prepared speech and delivered two impromptu speeches, this time on ‘Should Australia continue celebrating Australia Day on the 26th January or move the date?’ and ‘Is Australia doing enough to combat climate change?’ Once again, Zach won both the Lion’s Youth of the Year and Public Speaking awards, moving him onto the State Final.

The State Final was hosted in Robe on the 19th March. Zach was up against tough competition from across the South East and Adelaide, following the same format as the previous two rounds. Zach took out first position as State Winner wowing the crowd and judges with his public speaking skills and general knowledge. The impromptu topics this round were ‘Why do you believe vaping is so prevalent and what will be the future implications?’ and ‘How will greater exposure to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture and histories help us move forward as a nation?’

Zach is now preparing for the National Finals to be hosted on the Gold Coast on 27th April. He will go up against other state winners from across Australia and will again present his prepared speech and two impromptus, while submitting an application and sitting an interview. We are incredibly proud of Zach, being the first student at Naracoorte High School to make it to Lion’s Youth of the Year National Finals. Throughout the term a lot of behind-the-scenes preparation has taken place, from drafting and practicing his prepared speech, to adding to and refining his application and being across current events and headline news to prepare for possible impromptu topics.

Each year the Year 12 English students have the opportunity to participate in this worthwhile competition. It has allowed Zach to refine his already amazing public speaking skills, has connected him with like minded teens across our state and has taught him to think in his feet.

Good luck for the National Final, Zach!

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