The first Praise FM Family-Time Public Speaking competition has been hailed as a tremendous success by both the organisers and supporters of the event.

Five participants, ages 9 to 13, took part in the on Saturday at the Streams of Power Church at Sion Hill. T

The five participants spoke in the prepared speech category on the topic “Should students be paid for good grades?” after which there was an impromptu category.

Thirteen-year-old Brian Pearson of Belmount won the prepared speech category, while 13-year-old Carmold Murray of Cane Hall won the impromptu category.

Murray was adjudged the overall winner of the competition winning a tablet valued at over EC$600 and sponsored by Jubilee Beauty Salon. In his speech, Murray stated that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it is illegal to employ children, pointing out that SVG has ratified the convention on the rights of the child and that the employment of children is despicable and is called child labour. “Since it is illegal to employ children, the very premise of this argument is flawed and not worthy of consideration by the distinguished judges,” Murray argued, expressing his disagreement that students should be paid for good grades.

Meanwhile, one and a half points separated Brian Pearson from the first prize. He was awarded an MP3 player, compliments of Praise FM.

Pearson also argued that students should not be paid for good grades. Citing bible book of Matthew, chapter 20, where the story of the hired labourers is recorded.

“Are students labourers that they should be paid?” Pearson said.

He pointed out that it should be the dream of every boy and girl who walk through the doors of any school to seek for and achieve good grades with an aim to skilfully charter a path through these difficult economic times and through life on a whole.

“I should not be bribed to achieve what is beneficial to me!” he argued.

And 9-year-old Adonis Byron of Georgetown, the youngest participant, was third position and was awarded a dual SIM cellular phone, compliments Courts St. Vincent Ltd.

Adonis, who was in favour of the topic, made it clear that the payment of which she spoke was in the form of money, whether U.S. Dollars, British Pounds or Eastern Caribbean Dollars.

She said children are human beings too and some work just as hard or ever harder than teachers. “Children should be paid for good grades because we start working from 8:45 in the morning and sometimes go straight through to midnight.

“Yes, madam chairperson, this is the truth because most of us, especially those with the good grades, are still in our books up to midnight when many of our teachers and parents are already asleep!” Adonnis said.

The other participants were 11-year-old Lauriel Stowe of Bequia and 12-year-old Donlee Sutherland of Spring Village who both argued that students should be paid for good grades.

The other participants also received prizes, compliments Jujubee Bookstore and Praise FM.

Speaking at the opening of Saturday’s Public Speaking Competition, Mavis Joseph, education officer for literacy, language and communication development in the Ministry of Education, congratulated Praise FM and especially Coordinator of the event, Shana Daniel.

Joseph said the Ministry of education is always pleased when private citizens partner with them to develop young minds.

The education officer added that they are particularly pleased that Daniel had chosen to focus on speaking, as this is an area that begs for attention in many classrooms.

“Students need to be given the chance to speak in a structured manner and on various topics using their classmates as their audience,” Joseph said.

Many persons become extremely nervous when asked to speak in public, Joseph said, adding that public speaking is an activity that all are required to do at some point in their lives and frequent practice is needed for one to become a good public speaker.

She saluted the participants for embracing the public speaking challenge at an early age, noting that this will undoubtedly serve them in good stead.

The panel of judge comprised Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation, Howie Prince, Principal of the Girls High School, Andrea Bowman, and Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Mavis Joseph.

And coordinator of the event, Shana Daniel said that she was very impressed with the way the event went and commended the participants on the level of research that went into the preparation and their general execution of their presentations.

S. Daniel