Monday, 12 Apr 2021

Public Speaking champion Margaret Hayes achieves Lions District Finals berth

Champion public speaker from West Moreton Anglican College, Margaret Hayes, was one of only five regional finalists who competed in the prestigious Lions Youth of the Year 2021 District Final, which was held on the Gold Coast.

The WestMAC Public Speaking and Debating Captain represented Brisbane’s west, including Boonah and Rosewood, after winning two regional rounds to make the Q1 District Finals, which covers an area of more than 600 kilometres and 76 Lions clubs, from west to St George, north to Caboolture and south to New South Wales’ Northern Rivers.

Margaret, a product of West Moreton Anglican College’s award-winning public speaking and debating program, performed well in the District Final against students from Brisbane, Redlands, The Gold Coast and Goondiwindi, on March 27.

“I entered the Lion’s Youth of the Year to not only challenge myself and my public speaking abilities but, to also be a role model for my WestMAC debating team, who I try to inspire every day to recognise what is achievable,’’ says Margaret, 17.

“I was very excited and proud to reach the District Final and I welcome the opportunity to tell people about this amazing competition, which allows students from around Australia to display their abilities as the next generation of leaders and thinkers,’’ said Margaret, 17.

“Achieving this honour will hopefully help me build more awareness around the importance of accessing extra-curricular activities such as public speaking, debating, community work and leadership, which is available all here at school.’’

“Lions Youth of the Year has given me the opportunity to discuss issues I find relevant within my community, as well as gain a platform to present them amongst other community leaders.’’

Margaret’s speech was inspired by her passion for social justice, as she discussed the controversy surrounding changing Australia Day and the historical significance of the day.

WestMAC’s Public Speaking Program co-director and Leader of Learning for SOSE (Social Science) Donna Googe praised Margaret’s outstanding achievement and her passion for social justice.

“The Lions Youth of the Year quest is one of Australia's toughest and most prestigious competitions and helps to develop young community leaders,’’ Mrs Googe said. “Margaret is a young woman, who is very aware of local and social issues and who is prepared to step up and lead in her community, an outcome of WestMAC’s exceptional education, support and opportunities for students.’’

Each Lions Youth of the Year competitor must complete an interview with the judges covering questions including about their accomplishments, a general knowledge quiz and two public speaking rounds.

Mrs Googe said Margaret was upholding West Moreton Anglican College’s sterling reputation with the Lions Youth of the Year competition, as WestMAC had produced regional, district and state finalists.

“Margaret has become a role model for younger students, who are also learning critical thinking skills and the ability to express their voice, through our West Moreton Anglican College Public Speaking and Debating program,’’ Mrs Googe said.