By Ben Hosking, Chair, Ainger Public Speaking Award
The Ainger Public Speaking Awards is a joint project between the Rotary Club of Richmond and the Rotary Club of Melbourne Park. It was originally a project of the Rotary Club of Richmond and the Ainger family in memory of past member Ern Ainger.
The award gives high school students the opportunity to speak on any topic for four minutes. The competition focuses on preparation, personality, projection and individuality rather than the topic itself.
Every year the Ainger final proves to be a highly entertaining and inspiring event.
The finals were held at The Amora Hotel in Richmond on May 21st in front of an appreciative audience of Rotarians, family and friends; the final 10 speakers were all scored above 8/10 by the judges.
Rotary Club of Melbourne Park President Jacinta Walker did an outstanding job as Chair for the night. She engaged well with both the audience and the student finalists. We are also fortunate to have a dedicated adjudication panel ably lead by Stephen Yolland.
However the stars of the night were the ten finalists. It was a strong field with a outstanding presentation from our winner Harrison Huber a 14 year old in year 9 at Mentone Grammar School. It is now back to back year 9 winners as last year's trophy winner was Marietta Stents in year 9 at Genazzano FCJ College - Youth is certainly on the march ! Don Kinsey's legacy was on show last night and he would have enjoyed it.
The finalists were from nine schools with the winner being Harrison Huber a year 9 student from Mentone Grammar School who received $400, an inscribed Winner’s Medallion and his name on the perpetual Ainger Trophy.
Gemma Taylor from Melbourne Girls’ College was runner up receiving $300, and Samuel Roach from St Kevin’s College was third receiving $200.
Conor Barnes from Westbourne Grammar School won the Rotary Club of Melbourne Park’s Encouragement Award receiving $125.
It was lovely to see Patricia Peck representing NHP and John Ainger representing the Ainger family. In the audience was Margo Kinsey who had been an adjudicator for many years, Valerie Claire (formerly of NHP who had hosted the heats at NHP over many years, and our special district representatives DGE Bronwyn Stephens and Mark, DGN Grant Hocking and Melissa and AG Anne King.