EMCS student Kayla Curtis competes in Rotary Public Speaking Contest

EMCS student Kayla Curtis competes in Rotary Public Speaking Contest

EMCS student represent Sooke

Public speaking is a natural for Grade 11 student Kayla Curtis

Last week Edward Milne community school student Kayla Curtis competed in the semi-finals of the Public Speaking Contest, and represented EMCS among the competitors from three school districts (61, 62 and 63). The competition is hosted by Rotary Club of Royal Oak Centennial.

Presenting students had a choice of eight topics presented to them by the Rotary and had three weeks to prepare.

Kayla Curtis was among the six students who will move onto the finals, which take place on May 7 at 6 p.m., at Spectrum Secondary.

“Kayla Curtis, Grade 11, representing Edward Milne Community School (EMCS) argued that university tuition in Canada should be free,” wrote Superintendent Jim Cambridge in his blog. “She spoke about the cost of education, and highlighted countries such as Finland who have abolished tuition fees.”

Kayla is a natural at public speaking.

“I like to talk,” she laughed, in conversation with the Sooke News Mirror, “and it’s really nice to talk for five minutes without anyone interrupting you.”

Enjoying speaking helps, as does a bit of adrenaline.

“It’s a little bit of a rush,” she admitted. After the initial jitters subside in the first moments of actually speaking, seeing that she has engaged her audience, she relaxes into her presentation.

For those interested in (or forced into) public speaking, Kayla offers this advice: “Go ahead, write it, practice as much as you can, and go in and do it. If nothing else, it’s going to be a great learning experience.”

The audience, too, tends to be sympathetic. “They want you to do the best you can,” Kayla observed.

In an area long identified as the top human fear (followed by death and spiders, in that order), Kayla approaches public speaking with discipline and repetition. Her “formula” for success is spending one-third of her time writing the speech, and another two-thirds practicing in front of anyone who will listen. Practice also results in speech revisions, which are ongoing.

Besides practicing her speech in front of friends, family and school supporters, she also engages her seven-year-old brother, Jesse.

“He had to listen to me practice at least a dozen times. I don’t think he knew what any of it meant, but he did give me a very nice round of applause.”

“I found the whole event inspiring,” said Vice Principal John Lyall, adding this was the first year EMCS has participated in the event. “She was great,” he said, referring to Kayla’s speech at the event. “She’s a very strong candidate. She wrote a very polished essay.”

According to the Rotary Club of Royal Oak Centennial’s website, “The scholarships offered by the Rotary Club will be $1,000 for the best presentation, $750 for the runner-up, $500 for the third candidate and three ‘consolation’ scholarships for the remaining three finalists.”

Tickets are available from the hosting Rotary Club, and cost $15. The finalists’ presentations will be followed with a finger-food reception at which the winners will be announced.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

Westcoast Impressions plans to organize a COVID-19 friendly version of the event in 2021 at the Mary Winspear Centre after having cancelled the 2020 version against the backdrop of pandemic. The opening night of the 2019 Sidney Street Market featured more than 150 vendors lined along Beacon Avenue. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney Street Market plans for 2021 return at Mary Winspear Centre

Tentative plan calls for the event’s return to Beacon Avenue after COVID-19 pandemic

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read