(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The first semifinal of the Muscat Daily Listen Up public speaking contest for schoolchildren on Sunday at Indian School Muscat (ISM) saw some great speeches, some with a touch of drama. The contest, in its third year, is seeing participation from 25 schools from across the sultanate.
As the rules are, each contestant speaks on prepared and unprepared topics for a stipulated time in the junior (eight to ten years), middle (11 to 14 years) and senior (15 to 18 years) categories. Sunday's contest saw 15 students “ five in each category “ speak in front of an audience of over 250 comprising students and school staff members.
The second segment upped the excitement as the students were given just five minutes to prepare. To their credit, none of them were nervous, and spoke confidently. One winner was picked from each category based on performance in both segments.
Junior group contestants Shereen Angela Rodrigues, Aditi Shekar, Hargun Kaur Raina, Liza Andrea DSA and Pranati DVLS spoke on the topics, My Dream Job, The Best Surprise I Ever Had, My Best Friend and What Makes Me Happy in the prepared speech segment. While Shereen said she wanted to be a doctor, Hargun, the youngest contestant, wanted to be a famous rockstar.
In the unprepared section, Pranati DVLS enlivened her talk on One Day at the Chocolate Factory' with excellent use of body language and expressions. And, she won.
The other topics in this segment were If I Were An Angel', My First Picnic With My Friends', What Would I Like to Change About Me' and My Favourite Fun Recess Activity'.
The prepared speech topics for the middle category were, Who Is Better, Boys or Girls?', Manners Matter', If I Had A Superpower, It Would Be...' .
Arzoo Bariana described an unpleasant scene to illustrate how life would be without manners. Eunice Thambiraja cited from history and science to support her stand that girls are better. Most students who spoke on having a superpower said they would use it for world peace. The other contestants in this category were Abhinav Gupta, Tisjy T Mohan and Aashna Sanghani. Abhinav clinched the winning spot with his unprepared segment speech on 'When My Father Appointed A Robot as My Tutor'.
The other topics in the unprepared segment were Things I Would Like To Change In School', A Day Without Electricity in Muscat, Good Grades Matter' and Why To Make New Friends'.
One Week Without The Internet', If Women Ruled The World', Can We Really Tell Our Teachers What Is On Our Mind?' and If I Could Pass One Law, It Would Be...' were the prepared speech topics for the senior category.
In the unprepared topic segment, Siddharth Raghavan added a touch of celebrity, quoting from the film Rocky when asked to speak on Tough Conditions Don't Last, Tough Men Do'. ''It ain't how hard you hitit's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward... . It's about how much you can take and keep moving forward...'' he began. No surprise then that he won.
The other participants were S Mohamed Rayaan, Anagha Krishnamurthy, Roshael Kiran Bhakre and Shruthi Shangar and the topics were Real Learning Takes Place Through Experience', What Freedom Means to Me', Journey Is More Important Than The Destination' and The Greatest Impact of My Family On Me'.
Asfia Khan, one of the three judges and an English language lecturer at the Middle East College said, ''It was a great pleasure judging the contestants and it was difficult to decide the winners. The children have great talent.''
Deep Samuel Wilson, assistant vice principal of ISM said, ''Public speaking plays a very essential part in the success of a person. It is the first impression that people get from you when you interact a