The "Final" Proud to be Canadian
Public Speaking Contest
FIRST FEMALE TOP-PRIZE WINNER
One speaker stood out above the rest at the Peter Urs Bender Proud to be Canadian Public Speaking Contest. And for the first time in five years, it was a young woman.
Shenelle Durham, a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph Secondary School in Mississauga, was poised and confident as she spoke her way to the $2,500 first prize. Shenelle touched the hearts of both judges and fellow students with a speech about her trip to the Pre-Referendum Unity Rally in 1995. "Our destination that morning was Montreal," she said. "No, we weren't going to get drunk and party in the streets; but rather, to save a country. Our country."
Second-prize winner, Eric Butler spoke with similar passion and pride about some of the simpler reasons we have for being grateful to be Canadian. "We don't have to worry where our next meal will come from," he said. "We don't have to worry if our house is going to be bombed before we get home." Eric, who won the $1,500 for his three-minute speech, also lives in Mississauga and attends MacLachlan College in Oakville.
Overcoming rejection at an early age for her East Indian origins gave third-prize winner Pemma Muzumdar a very personal insight into what it is to be Canadian. She realized that "being a Canadian had everything to do with who I was and how I felt, and very little with what I looked like or where I came from." Pemma, a student at St. Clements School in Toronto, won $1,000.
Held at Ryerson University in Toronto, this year's competition had 24 Grade Twelve contestants from the Greater Toronto Area.
The purpose of the Proud to be Canadian Speaking Contest is to encourage young Canadians to speak up about the greatness of this country - and to help them succeed by learning the skills of public speaking. It has been sponsored by "Canada's Presentation Guru," Peter Urs Bender.
Unfortunately, this is the last year of the event. "I love seeing these students express themselves, and I enjoy giving away the money," said Bender. "However, it's just too hard to find schools and students who want to participate."
One of Canada's top professional speakers, Peter Urs Bender is the author of two best-selling books: Secrets of Power Presentations, used in over 40 Canadian colleges/universities and many of Canada's top companies (with over 100,000 in print); and Leadership from Within, a book about bringing forth the leader in everyone. His next book, Secrets of Power Marketing, is being published this spring by Stoddart Publishing.
May 8, 1999
© Peter Urs Bender
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