Speech on bats wins at contest

They talked about shopping, aliens, and the Loch Ness monster, but it was a speech about bats that won the judges over.
Simeon Firth, a student at the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program (SCAP), took first place at the 2005 Rainy River District Speech Contest held at Robert Moore School here Wednesday night.
Samantha Mueller (Robert Moore) took second place for her speech about racism while Tirzah Keffer (Robert Moore) was third with her speech about wood ticks.
Eleven students in Grades 6-8 from eight schools across the district participated in the competition.
Maureen Ricard, literacy co-ordinator for the Rainy River District School Board and host for the evening, noted each student already had performed well at their school level.
“They’re all winners already,” she said. “This evening is just a celebration of all the talent we have in this area.”
Ricard reminded the parents, grandparents, and teachers assembled in the gym of just how difficult public speaking can be. “Anyone who’s ever prepared a speech is aware of how nerve-wracking—and rewarding—it can be,” she remarked.
Firth’s speech was a defence of bats, noting many of the myths about them are untrue. Contrary to public opinion, they are neither dangerous, nor dirty, nor blind.
“Bats can see very well, though they don’t use it to catch their food,” he said. “And they’re not dirty. They groom themselves like cats.”
He encouraged the crowd, the next time they see a bat, to “leave it alone. They’re scared of you, too.”
All the contestants received certificates for participating.