Tamiko Sianen

Tamiko Sianen

Saanich student takes Rotary speaking contest

On the heels of a successful election to the position of student president for Mount Doug, Tamiko Sianen has another feather for her cap.

On the heels of a successful election to the position of student president for Mount Douglas secondary, Tamiko Sianen has another feather for her cap.

The Grade 11 student’s presentation on the topic of “We seem to be going this way” was judged best among three finalists in the first Royal Oak Rotary Club public speaking contest for high school students.

She earned a $1,000 scholarship for her efforts, which included a win at the school level and a top-three position among semifinalists from 11 different schools.

Sianen’s impassioned, six-and-a-half minute speech that followed the pathway of an anonymous man’s love for a woman, was inspired by a similar project she did in Grade 10 English class.

A member of the leadership club at Mount Doug and a fan of English and math who is also interested in photography, Sianen joked that she and her friends have been tossing around the idea of “working for NASA” after university. But she has no set plans for after graduation.

“I’m still on the path of discovery for what I’m doing,” she said.

Runner-up in the competition and winner of a $750 scholarship was Alysha Rose from Stelly’s secondary, who chose the same topic from a list of five options as Sianen. Rose gave an emotionally powerful speech, without notes, comparing two written articles on the state of the world: one that saw it as “peachy” and another that acknowledged the hardship, poverty and starvation in developing countries.

Ian Weber, who attends the Link program at S.J. Willis school, was the other finalist and won a $500 prize. He gave a tongue-in-cheek speech on what his priorities would be as premier, cementing his points with experiential anecdotes about why youth don’t get out and vote.

Contest organizer and Rotary member John Saunders said the competition went far better than he imagined, in terms of participation from the schools and students.

ddescoteau@vicnews.com