Sunday March 4th saw the Zone Final for Lions Youth of the Year (LYOTY), held at the Kangaroo Flat Sports Club. Club Finalists Samuel (Sam) Hilson (12 Frew) and Liam Radford (12 Riley) competed against three Club Finalists from Castlemaine Secondary College, and one from Catherine McCauley College.
It was such a tight contest that the judges took an inordinately long time to re-emerge with the results (well over an hour!). When the Chairperson of the Judging Panel appeared, his first comment was on the extreme difficulty the judges had in trying to arrive at a consensus decision, adding how ‘very close’ the strongest competitors were.
Our two young men were certainly amongst this group, giving almost-flawless, systematic, well-structured and confident Impromptus, both then following with impassioned and well-reasoned (and diligently substantiated) speeches.
Sam spoke on the disenchantment and sad apathy many feel about our current political climate, whilst Liam looked at ‘The Power and the Passion’ which can be experienced when we work to help those less fortunate than ourselves. He also put a very strong case for striving to counter the pervasive negativity that can so undermine the ‘Paradise’ most of us enjoy in Australia.
It was an absolute pleasure to see these young men handle the evening and the competition, the sense of occasion, and its many challenges, with such aplomb. Tim Schofield, Elizabeth Morgan and I felt immense pride in the way they mixed in with, paid tribute to and were so gracious in the company of the other competitors. Girton was more than ably represented by these young men and we should all feel great pride in how they acquitted themselves over the course of the evening, not only in competition!
By the end of the evening, Liam had very deservedly taken out the coveted ‘Zone Best Speaker Award’, to add to his recent Eaglehawk Club Winner recognition. The Zone Champion was, finally, adjudged to be Thalia Thirunavukarasu from Catherine McCauley College.
Just to sum up our cohort’s performances and results in this year’s competitions, we had a number of students competing in the various Club Rounds, at which Emily Shoebridge, Stephanie Brunner and Harrison Waller all took out Best Speaker Awards (at the Bendigo, Strathfieldsaye and Eaglehawk Clubs, respectively). As already mentioned, Liam and Sam also won their club heats, and thus went on to compete at last night’s Zone Final.
The team this year consisted of the following students: Samuel Hilson (12 Frew), Liam Radford (12 Riley), Stephanie Brunner (12 Jones), Emily Shoebridge (12 Jones), Prudence Whiteley (12 Riley), Thomas Ayars (12 Jones), Harrishman Shobanan (12 Riley), Harrison Waller (12 Jones), Amy Nicholls (12 Frew), Joe Flexmore (12 Jones) and Fabian Denk-Rea (12 Jones).
All of these students worked very hard to represent themselves, and their school, as well as they possibly could, at a time when they were also juggling the inevitable, but not-inconsiderable demands associated with the start of the school year. Their commitment to LYOTY also meant encroachments on their Christmas Holiday time, as they prepared their formal applications and drafted, refined and practised their speeches. All of this deserves our sincere acknowledgement.
We, and the students, would also like to thank a number of staff who assisted by supporting, in person, many of these students at the various club events – Christine Phillips, Liz Tobias, Kerry Stewart, Carolyn Flood, Dave Martin, Tim Schofield and Robin Kurrle. We sincerely appreciate how you gave up your time to do this, at this extra-busy time of the year.
Alisoun Downing – MiC LYOTY, 2018