Starting out in 2003, the Toastmasters Junior Speakers’ Competition has become one of the most anticipated events of the year. Creating a forum that encourages young people to expand their oratory skills and compete with peers for the title of Best Speaker, the response for participation as been growing tremendously.
This year the response has been the best since the competition first began. Part of the success of the competition is that it is not restricted to schools students. Young people within the age group of 12 to 18, may apply as private participants. In fact, this year’s second runner up, applied as a private candidate.
“The Toastmasters is a very important contest.
Not merely because it motivates the competitors to improve their oratory skills but the young people who make up the audience, those supporting their friends also get hooked. They are curious to know what the Toastmasters is all about and want to be a part of the competition the following year. This is a critical element as it aspires to be speakers, groom generations to come to be articulate and confident,” said The President of the Colombo Toastmasters, Mr. Yukthi Gunesekara.
He went on to say, “if we want to be an A-class democracy people must be able to speak out. We must encourage people to speak up and be articulate about their needs. That’s part of the bigger picture of the competition.”
Over the past six year the winners have been from a wide range of schools, such as Lyceum International School, Ladies College, Ananda College and St. Peter’s College.
The contest is one of a kind as it is for those within the particular age group. The students go through rigorous selection process which includes an orientation, preliminaries both in Colombo and Kandy, and the finals which are held in Colombo.
The high quality of the speakers has persisted throughout the years. Meeting that standard and emerging the Best Speaker was Shamil Mohsin (13) from Lyceum International School Urugodawata, while Randula Koswatte (16), was awarded first-runner-up and Migara Cabral (16), came in as second-runner-up.
This year the Colombo Toastmasters Competition was held on February 28. The Principle sponsor for the competition was Lyceum International School, while the electronic media sponsors were Channel 1 MTV and Yes FM. The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Times were the print media sponsors for the event.