Goalie speech nets top spot

Sarah Pruys

For Grade 8 student Dylan Ossachuk, speech contests are just another way in which he can entertain the public.
Representing J.W. Walker School for a second-straight year, Ossachuk this time was able to nab first place in the annual Rainy River District Speech Contest last Thursday night at Robert Moore School here with his speech on “The Life of a Goalie.”
Ossachuk said he’s quite comfortable speaking in front of people.
“I sing,” he noted. “I like being out in the public, and definitely being heard, so this is no different than singing for me.
“I don’t really get nervous when I sing.
“I felt I did pretty well, lots of preparing for it,” Ossachuk added.
“I definitely had to go out there and give it my all, especially with the stiff competition this year.”
His preparation was apparent as he was very entertaining and energetic while confidently delivering his speech.
Competing against the 10 girls, who all had excellent speeches, in front of an audience of parents, teachers, and judges didn’t faze him at all.
“It definitely doesn’t intimidate me,” Ossachuk said. “I mean, it doesn’t really matter if it’s all girls, it’s who has the better speech.
“I’d just like to thank everyone for coming out,” he added. “I’m really honoured to get this.”
Ossachuk also complimented his fellow competitors who had been tops in speech contests at their respective schools.
“I felt they all did very well, they all deserved something,” he said.
“But I guess somebody has to win,” he reasoned.
Anne Jean also did very well in capturing second place with “Reaching for Your Dreams.”
The St. Francis student inspired the audience with her speech on how to achieve your dreams while encouraging everyone to stay determined in order to overcome obstacles.
And Emma Dykstra (Donald Young School) garnered third place with her speech on the history of the Titanic.
“Every year I’m amazed at the creativity, the calibre of the speeches, and the confidence that the students display in their oral communication skills,” said emcee Diane Carlson, the literacy co-ordinator for the Rainy River District School Board.
“We can be assured that oral language is alive and well in the classrooms,” she noted.
“That’s actually been a pretty big focus for us in the past few years,” added Carlson “We can see that the students are benefiting from that.”
She also said schools have changed.
“Students are learning to talk using speaking and listening skills and talking to learn,” Carlson explained. “So they’re talking things out more than when we were in school. . . .
“Classrooms were very quiet [back then], and there’s a good hum through classrooms now.
“There’s lots of talking, and it is encouraged,” she remarked.
“Keep working at it,” Carlson encouraged those who might not be quite as confident in public speaking as this year’s 11 finalists.
“I know for myself it’s probably one of my biggest fears, and the thing that I dread most,” she admitted. “But I have noticed in the past few years that the more I do it, the more comfortable I am.
“It’s one of those things that you have to do, you have to practise it,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, the contest would not have been such a success if not for the insightful questions asked by Kim McKinnon and Nicke Baird, or without the deliberation of judges Debbie Cousineau, Sharon Tibbs, and Trudy McCormick in choosing the top three speeches.
The eight other contestants included Elizabeth Fraser of Riverview (“War”), Sara Selman of Crossroads (“Air Cadets”), Kenya Bruyere of St. Francis (“My Best Friend”), Morgan Haw of Sturgeon Creek (“High School”), and Rachel Ward of J.W. Walker (“Smoking”).
Rounding out the field were Caitlan Visser of Robert Moore (“Life as a Pencil”), Myla Angus of Robert Moore (“Barbie: An Icon or a Threat?”), and Prudence Kabatay of Mine Centre School (“The Sweet Smell of a Fart”).