Clarence Valley Independent

Yamba Lions Club ‘Youth of the Year’

Left to right - Katherine Behn, Maya Johnson, Riley Duncombe and mayor Jim Simmons, who presented the certificates and gifts. Image: contributed

On Saturday November 16, 43 students, parents, judges, Lions and visitors witnessed a wonderful night of speeches by three students from Maclean High School who competed in the Yamba Lions Club’s ‘Youth of the Year’ contest. The three contestants were Katherine Behn, Maya Johnson and Riley Duncombe. Katherine and Riley are both school captains.

The quality and personality of these students were second to none, so it goes to show that the future is in good hands. They would have made their parents and school very proud.

Maya Johnson won the public speaking contest and the overall winner was Riley Duncombe, who will now represent Yamba Lions Club at the Regional finals at Coffs Harbour in March, 2020. Both students were presented with their certificates by MP Chris Gulaptis. After the Regional finals, the District and State finals will be held followed by the National finals which will be in Adelaide as part of Lions Australia’s National Convention in May.

The students attended interviews during the day and these were conducted by the judges, Geoffrey Willis, Michelle Gillies and Maree Kelly. What a difficult task this was for them, as the students’ scores were so close. During interviews, up to 70 points of their overall score are available and they are judged on leadership, sporting & cultural, citizenship & community, academic, general knowledge and personality. The extra 30 points come from the night time contest. Prior to dinner each student is asked two impromptu questions and they speak up to two minutes on each, then their prepared speeches followed dinner. Katherine spoke on ‘The importance of organ donation’, Maya’s speech titled ‘Why Australia needs to focus on youth mental health’ and Riley on ‘The importance of raising the Newstart allowance’.  These speeches were presented very confidently and they knew their subjects well.

The night was a huge success and enjoyed by all who attended. Yamba Lions Club would like to take this opportunity to thank firstly, the students and judges, as there can be no contest without them, Maclean High School teacher Tania Kane, all the Lions Club members who turned up to decorate and set up the room and those who were part of the night’s proceedings, Peter Ross who filled in for me at the judges’ meeting, and my husband Ian, who was my backstop when, as YOTY Chairman, I needed help.

Joy Lauder

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