Boy turns wasp sting into a winning speech

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Three 12-year-olds from Eastern Southland talked their way past all other competitors to win top places in the Central and Eastern Southland year 7 and 8 speech competition this week.
Menzies College pupil Brock Stuart, Longford Intermediate School pupil Kiera Ferguson and Tokanui School pupil Madison Earwaker were placed first, second and third respectively at the competition held at Makarewa School on Tuesday. The three will join other area finalists for the Southland grand final on Wednesday at Aurora College in Invercargill.
This is the second year Brock has won the area competition.
He came first last year with a speech on ‘‘My Love of Food’’.
His topic this year was wasps, which he said ‘‘most people know about’’.
‘‘They are a bit of a pain to people, me included. They sting people,’’ Brock said.
Brock was inspired by his own unpleasant encounter with a wasp.
‘‘I was finishing my lunch at Edendale School and a wasp went into my hair and it stung me and I knew it was a wasp by its colour,’’ he said.
Brock said he enjoyed public speaking.
‘‘It’s my thing so that’s why I enjoy it.’’
Brock started public speaking when he was in primary school.
He said he found speaking in front of a big crowd challenging.
‘‘I get a little nervous but when I’m talking I just get into a rhythm.’’
Kiera, who placed second, spoke on ‘‘Why are we calling destruction progress’’.
She said she found the inspiration for her topic while watching some videos online about environmental destruction.
‘‘[The speech] was about what we are doing to the planet and how it’s coming to an end because of it,’’ Kiera said.
The year 8 pupil has participated in the speech competition since she was in year 5.
Madison, who placed third, spoke about anti-social behaviour.
She wanted to convince people to stop looking at their phones and spend more time with people.
‘‘My siblings are often playing on their electronic devices and mum’s always saying to get off and spend more time with people.
‘‘When you’re walking around town and you see people who have their heads down, it’s quite interesting.’’
The year 8 pupil has been competing since she was in year 5 and this is the fourth year she has qualified for the Southland finals.