Rotary Oratory Competition 50-Years On

A magical night marking the 50th anniversary of my own speaking success in the Rotorua Rotary Clubs annual intercollegiate Speech contest held recently.

Yours truly with 2021 winner Miguel Manaig, who arrived from the Philippines just 16-months ago with Rotorua Boys High School Principal, Chris Grinter and HoF, Keri Hay. 

An emotionally inspiring evening provided me with reassurance the future is perhaps in safe hands after all. Whilst the subject each contestant had to speak to this year revolved around the current state of the New Zealand educational system, I had the opportunity to ask more questions about what the future held. 

Rotorua Boys High School entrant and this years winner, Miguel Manaig, didn't even have a clear command of the English language when he arrived from the Philippines - next year he is off to Victoria University to study Law and Business studies. His eloquence and vocal dexterity is to be admired.

Chris Grinter, the current Principal of RBHS has transformed the school over the more than 30-years he has been in the role - a far cry from the late 60's and early 70's when I attended the school.  The then principal ruled with a reign of terror and abuse. At one point during the evening I became quite emotional connecting with the lack of personal esteem I lived with during my secondary school years - thank goodness for current students this is longer the case.

Much praise for Miguel and Chris Grinter, true role models for a system of education which looks after and values the esteem of all students.