BY SHANNON DUFF
WALLACE – When Shannon Martin first started pondering rubber boots, she didn’t think the subject would result in an award-winning speech.
The Grade 7 student at Wallace Public School recently racked up three public speaking awards, but not before a not-so-successful first attempt in her own school gymnasium.
“The first time, I was extremely nervous,” said Shannon. “I talked really fast.”
Shannon gave her speech, dubbed “Puddle Jumping,” and didn’t originally place in her school’s contest. When a different student headed for the Royal Canadian Legion Public Speaking Contest in Listowel couldn’t attend, Shannon was offered the spot.
“I went to Listowel and I placed first, then I went to Harriston and placed first again,” she said in an interview with The Banner. She then went on to the Port Elgin Legion to compete against the other first-place winners in the region, and walked away with second prize.
“By the time I got to the last Legion, I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Shannon. “I’d had so much practice.”
And why rubber boots?
“I was going to a friend’s place one night, and I was wearing rubber boots,” she explained.
“I was just wondering about rubber boots. I hadn’t decided what I wanted to write my speech on yet, so I thought, ‘hey, that would be a cool idea’.”
After her experience this year, Shannon said she plans to continue public speaking.
“After this, it just gives me hope that I can actually do it,” she said. “I like that it helps me to speak out. In high school, I won’t be nervous giving presentations, or later on in life.”