Optimist brought out the best in children

With superb eloquence and candor Melanie Moore of St. Ignatius and Jovonnie Anglin of Cayman Brac High School placed first at the Optimist Club of Cayman’s Oratorical Contest at the Harquail Theatre on Saturday, 30May.

Over 20 students from local schools competed to demonstrate their oratorical skills with the topic ‘For me, optimism is…’.

The event provided a platform for students to convey their opinion as well as to build their oratorical skills.

‘I feel great that I won,’ said the elated Ms Moore.

‘With so many other worthy contestants, I know it is a slight contradiction, but I was a bit of a pessimist in the sense that I didn’t think I would win,’ she said with a laugh.

Letting out a sigh of relief after being congratulated, Mr. Anglin said: ‘It feels good to know that all this hard work has paid off. And now that it is over I can look forward to competing in other competitions of this nature.’

Peter Embleton, principal of St. Ignatius, said: ‘I am delighted that she won. Melanie was worthy of winning, I was impressed with her speech.’

He added: ‘All of our students who were involved did well, and I would like to thank Mr. Elcock who encouraged the students’ participation.

‘We want to support the development of public speaking with our students so it was perfect time to participate in an event of this sort,’ said Mr. Embleton.

Cayman Brac High School Principal Adrian Jones also praised the efforts of Mr. Anglin and the other students who participated. ‘As a school we have a long history of doing well at events of this nature. I would also like to congratulate the other students and thank their teacher Devon Bowen.

‘I am pleased and delighted with Jovannie’s performance. He is a confident speaker and a good writer. The win is a result of hard work on his part.’

Thanking his family, friends and school for helping him garner the top prize, Mr. Anglin also said that he has hopes of possibly becoming a politician and speaking in the Legislative Assembly in the future.

Encouraging other children his age to be optimistic about their future he added: ‘You have to put your mind to what you want to do.’

Miss Moore said: ‘At our age we will be faced with obstacles, but instead of saying ‘I can’t’, we should say ‘I can’.’

Chairperson of the Oratorical Committee Elaine Harris said: ‘We are proud of the students who competed in the Oratorical Contest. They were inspiring and courageous. We hope the experience that the students gained from this event will help to build their confidence and oratory skills.

‘Effective communication is an essential part of their success in life. The Oratorical Contest is an annual event and I look forward to our next competition.’

Optimist Clubs have been bringing out the best in children since 1919. The oratorical contest was first launched by Optimist International in 1928. More than US$150,000 in college scholarships funded by the Optimist International Foundation has been awarded annually from this event.

Optimist International lists the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. among its distinguished winners over the years.