Churchill inspires young speakers

Youth to practice oratory skills

At 15 years old, Kieran Wilson might be forgiven if he didn’t know who Sir Winston Churchill was.

But he not only knows most everything about the Second World War era British prime minister, he models some of his public-speaking abilities after him. He also hopes to one day enter politics.

“Winston Churchill was definitely one of the great statesmen of the modern age,” the Grade 10 Esquimalt High student said. “I think he’s quite the role model.”

The Fairfield resident believes youth can learn a lot from Churchill. That’s the reason why, at age 11, he joined the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island and continues to be the international group’s youngest member.

His passion for the great orator has prompted him to organize the first Impromptu Speaking Youth Competition on Saturday (April 9) in his role as chair of his society’s youth and education committee.

Teens aged 14 to 17 from all schools were invited to participate, but won’t be required to know about the late Brit. They will, however, be asked to speak for two to three minutes on two impromptu topics related to history, politics and life, looking through “Churchill-tainted glasses,” Wilson said.

While some people’s knees start knocking at the thought of facing an audience, Wilson just laughs. He enjoys it. He believes oratory skills can build confidence in young people.

“They’re going to be leaders of tomorrow and parents of tomorrow. The ability to sway hearts and minds with your mastery of language is necessary for a great leader.”

The public is invited to the free event, on from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Union Club of B.C., 805 Gordon St. For more information, please visit www.churchillvictoria.com.

emccracken@vicnews.com