Young orator Oscar Shaw will encourage other young people to follow their dreams at a national competition today.
Oscar is one of two Wellingtonians selected to compete in the Lions Club Young Speechmaker contest in Auckland.
In his final year of high school, the 17-year-old Wellington College pupil will use his speech to challenge his peers have the conviction to pursue what they really want to do.
"I really wanted to talk about it because I feel like lots of people are going through the same thought processes in their final year of high school. It's about realising what you want to do for the rest of your life, and if it doesn't make you happy then there's no point doing it."
The speech is drawn from his own experience, as he wants to be an actor while others have encouraged him to study law or politics.
"I want to be an actor, but what are the chances I'm going to be the next Brad Pitt? I'll probably end up waiting tables for a while. But acting's what I want to do, that's what makes me happiest."
Oscar has always admired speechmakers who are able to inspire millions of people, or even just a handful, with their words. "[Speech-making] is so active but so passive at the same time. You can change the world without having to shoot anyone."
Fifteen other pupils were selected from the 121 who entered from around the country.
Janek Chmielewski, of St Patrick's College in Kilbirnie, also made the cut and will speak on how New Zealand is a land of both poverty and plenty.
Contest organiser Kerry Beach says judges will consider voice and grammar, speech structure, development and speech value, and effectiveness. Competitors will make their five-minute prepared speech and an impromptu speech of up to two minutes.
"They've really got to get the judges' attention, and think outside of the square, especially in the impromptu section. It's an exceptionally high standard."
The winner will receive a trip to Canada and the United States during the Christmas break, on which they will be billeted with Lions members. Second prize is a trip to Australia, and third prize is a placement at an international youth camp near Rotorua.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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