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Website looking for speeches to inspire students
Posted on 2009-04-07
By Tina Depko, Oakville Beaver Staff
Published in the Oakville Beaver on Feb 25, 2009

The administrator of a public speaking website is asking Halton residents, especially students, to post their used speeches.
Melissa Wang, an Oakville parent and St. Michael Catholic School volunteer, has put out a call for speech submissions for the website www.ourspeeches.com .

The site currently features more than 30 speeches, predominantly written by students at St. Michael. Wang said she would like to expand the submission list to include speeches written by students, as well as adults, across the region.

“It will be helpful for students to read something written by students the same age and see how they write,” she said. “Then they will think, ‘Someone can do that, so can I.’ It is also a good way to see how other kids think about certain topics so they can get their own ideas.”

The website came online in May 2008 with the intent of helping students prepare for public speaking competitions. The idea was actually the brainchild of Wang’s son, Xin-Xin. The Grade 6 St. Michael student came up with the idea when he was taking part in his school’s public speaking competition last year.

“My son was in Grade 5 last year, and he was preparing his speech and he said there should be a website to help students prepare and get ideas,” Wang said. “When he started in Grade 4, he didn’t know where to go for help. It is harder for the young kids.”

Besides used speeches written by students, the website also features public speaking tips, news and events, and lists of winners from the Halton Catholic District School Board Regional Public Speaking Competition and St. Michael School Public Speaking Festival.

The content for the website was a collaborative effort between the Wang family and St. Michael School staff and parents. The pages for the site have been created by Xin-Xin.

“I run the website, but all the pages were created by my son,” Wang said. “He likes working with computers.”

People interested in posting speeches need to first sign up as a member on the site, then submit their writing directly online.

Although the focus is on speeches written by students, adults can also submit their writing, as long as it is on a family-friendly subject, Wang said.

“Speeches I’m looking for are from anyone who has participated in public speaking,” she said. “It started out for students in Grades 4 to 8, but I want speeches from all ages.”

Wang said she not only wants to add speeches, but also other winners’ lists from public speaking events at schools across the region.

The site is featuring a surprise draw to motivate people to share their past work.

Wang said she has big plans for the website, with the goal of making it the largest online speech database.

“I’m hoping it will grow so people from around the world can read the speeches and submit their own,” she said.

She added that helping youths with public speaking will give them an advantage in life.

“I think kids learn presentation skills and writing skills, which are important,” she said. “You can also look at someone like (Barack) Obama, who is really good at public speaking and see what a difference being able to do that makes.”

For information, e-mail Melissa Wang at mwang@ourspeeches.com or go online to www.ourspeeches.com .

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