Strictly speaking: Off-the-cuff contest puts students to the test
Young orators from colleges across Samoa put their impromptu speaking skills to the ultimate test last week when they were given a few minutes' notice to deliver speeches in the Zone A public speaking contest.
Held last Thursday at the T.A.T.T.E. building and in partnership with Business Systems Limited (B.S.L.), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.).
Ten colleges participating within Zone A included Samoa College, Leififi college, Lepa and Lotofaga College, Vaimauga College, Falealili College, Palalaua College, Aogama’a College, Papauta girls College, Avele College and Aleipata College, with one represent there schools.
Students took the stage with pride speaking in Samoan and English language divisions. They were given a list of potential topics one day before the contest, but the final topic for their three-minute speech was presented to them just two minutes before they took the stage.
A year 13 student from Vaimauga college, Vaeluga Tau, told the Samoa Observer he was excited to deliver a speech in the Samoan language before such an audience.
"At first I was nervous when I was going to make a speech in front of all those people," he said.
"I was worried because this is the first time I [am standing before and audience to]do a speech like this, but thank God for his help."
About 300 students filled the hall to support and cheer for their college representatives.
Leeroy Feanati from (B.S.L) said this year's contest's theme posed a challenge to the young orators.
“We at Business Systems Limited wanted to take it to another level and the issue they wanted to discuss is climate change," he said.
Given the theme B.S.L. made sure to include the Ministry and S.P.R.E.P. to support the discussion of the environmental issue.
"We know that these are [organisations dealing] with climate change," he said.
"The Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment is taking care of the venue, with help from S.P.R.E.P [who] provide the refreshment also other prizes."
Another year 13 student, Tualima Esekia, who represented Samoa College in the Samoan language division said the contest was a learning experience - about the subject matter of his speech, but also conquering his fears.
"I was so worried because this is my first time standing in this big crew of people, but I am happy," he added.
Mr. Feaunati said it was important for the younger generations to turn their minds to climate change.
"They want to know the core [issues about] climate change, where it started from and what is affected [by it]," he added.
In the Samoan category Avele College came first; Aleipata College came second, while Falealili College came third.
For the English speeakers, Leififi College came first; Samoa College second; and Vaimauga College third.
First: Solomontis Tavita, Leififi College
Second: Morita Fruean, Samoa College
Third: Gasolo Belford, Vaimauga College
First: Hellen Fruean, Avele College
Second: Auauli Timoteo, Aleipata College
Third: Papaloa Agaalofa, Falealili College