Public Speaking has been a growing extra curricula activity at Damascus College this year with many students participating, some for the first time, some as seasoned competitors. In this last term two students represented Damascus College at the Lions Youth of the Year competition. Peggy Yandell and Bonita Brugger. Both presented for intensive interviewing with a judging panel, then gave speeches on topics of concern as well as participating in a most challenging impromptu speech competition being presented with two topics that they must talk about “off the cuff” with no preparation time. Our congratulations go to both of them on their admirable representation.
The Debating Prize for Damascus College this year, sponsored by MP Geoff Howard, went to Year 11 student Joseph Short. Joseph participated in Debating Association of Victoria competitions, and in the Royal South Street Debating Challenge, but he also contributed considerable time and expertise towards Year 7 students participating in the House Debating competition, both coaching and adjudicating. Congratulations Joseph.
Also to be congratulated is Year 8 student Ben Jarick who is a hard working member of the Damascus Debating team and as well participated in the Speech section of the Royal South Street Competitions. Ben is also famous as the Ben on the Great Australian Spelling Bee on TV earlier this year!! Ben spoke with passion about his experiences in this speech he gave at South Street this year. Congratulations Ben on this mature and enlightening speech. Well done.
The Meaning of Success
By Benjamin Jarick
Fun fact: I was on a show called “The Great Australian Spelling Bee”. Being on the show taught me a lot of things, including the meaning of success. Before I had ever known about the show, I asked myself what success meant. So, I asked around for what it meant to other people. I had a lot of varied answers. Some say that to be successful is to be happy. Others that being successful means to be rich. Although I had lots of good answers, I wasn’t satisfied. So, I looked it up in the dictionary. The Oxford dictionary defines success as: “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. And although this helped, I knew that success was more than that.
But, back to the Spelling Bee. I saw an advertisement on television looking for smart kids between the ages of 8-13. I immediately thought to myself, “You could do that!” So, I applied, thinking there was no way I was going to get picked. But, surprise, surprise, I was picked. Out of the 3,000 kids that auditioned, I was one of the 52 people that were picked. I couldn’t believe it, it felt like the best feeling ever.
We flew out to Sydney for filming in June. If you watched the show, then you would know that the first round consisted of a traditional spelling bee in groups of four, where only two would progress.
When I met my three other competitors, my hopes of progressing were just about smashed. My competitors were Drew, Harrison and Lachlan. They were spelling incredibly hard words like: haemorrhage, valetudinarian, baccalaureate, chartreuse, and some REALLY long words, including: antidisestablishmentarianism, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, and my personal favourite, hippopotamonstrosesquippedaliaphobia, which ironically means “The fear of long words”.
The spelling bee finally came around, and I was extremely lucky to get words I knew. I prevailed, not getting a single word wrong. Along with Harrison, I went through to the next round.
When I was eliminated later in the show, I was disappointed with myself knowing I could have done better. But when I look back, I realised how amazing it was to be on the show. I had done really well to get that far, and even though I didn’t win, I still did really well.
Being on the show, I gained a lot of things. I gained friends, I gained knowledge and I also gained the meaning of success to me. It isn’t about money, or a job, it is about how proud other people are of you. Whether it be your parents, your teachers, your friends, or your school. But more than these things, that YOU are proud of yourself. That you are proud of your achievements, your successes and your improvements, whether it be passing a test, winning a sporting match or, for me, being on a TV show. Taking this into account, I can proudly say that I am successful.