Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison revealed the winners of the Mayor’s Public Speaking Contest at a town council meeting on June 24 with first place going to Grade 7 student Keira Marshall from Riverside School.
This year was the first that the Huntsville contest was offered to local area students in Grade 6, 7 and 8. The topic was “Why I Love Huntsville” and 12 speakers from four area schools entered the contest to speak about their love of the town. Marshall from Riverside School took first place followed by Grade 6 student Margot Fleming from Huntsville Public School in second place. Grade 7 students Natalie Juszczak from Saint Mary’s School and Carolyn Yungblut of Spruce Glen School tied for third place.
“Hearing the excellent student speakers was one of the most rewarding duties I have had as Mayor,” Aitchison said during council. “Judging them was one of the most difficult.”
Mayor Aitchison was joined in judging by Deputy-Mayor Karin Terziano and Councillor Jonathan Wiebe, who acts as chair of Community Services.
“The tie for third represents the very difficult decision of the judges,” said Teri Souter, Huntsville’s manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage, who initiated the contest. “I sat in their deliberations, and they really took their time discussing, debating and pitching their choices, and why, to each other at length.”
Souter said she has notes for future contests from the judges and from both participating and non-participating schools, so she hopes the town can hold the competition again. If the contest does return, it is likely to be a Huntsville Day event on March 25 due to conflicts in timing with the end of the school year in late May.
Visit Muskoka Heritage Place at 10 a.m. on July 1 to hear Keira Marshall’s speech in person, or watch the video below to see a recording of Marshall’s speech. Visit the Town of Huntsville’s YouTube channel to hear more speeches from the contest.