Born to speak
TO say Year 9 Mary MacKillop student David McAlpine is a well-spoken young man would be a major understatement.
Truly, the lad is born to speak.
Recently, the 15-year-old was awarded first place in the regional Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award. The gifted orator has been working with the Debating Association of Victoria, honing his immense skills.
“I’ve always liked being in leadership type roles. I also love to write – stories, essays, that sort of thing. That all comes out when I stand up and talk to people,” he said.
David’s chosen topic for the five minute presentation was the history of the Newsboys Foundation, which was started by wealthy merchant and saddler William Forster. The charity-minded entrepreneur first rescued corner newspaper sellers from abject poverty in 1893.
As David told the rapt audience, Forster “was walking home one night in Melbourne and came across three of these boys, in tattered clothes and barefoot”.
“He brought them home for dinner, bestowed them with new clothes and boots and asked them about their hopes for the future,” he said.
“When they were leaving, he invited them to return soon and bring a friend. This was the start of the Melbourne Newsboys Club.”
The club “grew from humble beginnings to help over 10,000 boys,” offering three-course meals at the end of shifts as well as access to a wide range of activities.
Although the club no longer exists, the sale of its clubrooms and a country property in 1973, led to the establishment of the Newsboys Foundation, which has continued to aid people “who have experienced some form of disadvantage, such as intellectual, social, physical and financial and motivate them to lift their aspirations, become confident and introduce them to opportunities for the future”.
The speech embraced the “Legacy values” of “camaraderie, mateship, volunteering” and was a favourite for the judges.
“I’ve written all sorts of narratives in the past and all sorts of argumentative essays,” David told The Star.
“I’ve often thought about journalism as a career, but I love science. Journalism would come to the fore at some time with that. There’s programs like Catalyst. It will always play a part in my career.”
The next stage of the Legacy Junior Public Speaking course will see David competing in a preliminary final event at the Dandenong RSL on September 11.
The Victorian final is on October 19, with a subsequent national final in Tasmania.
“For Dandenong I’m thinking about speaking on organ donation – the ultimate gift. That’s in the process of being put together,” David said.
“I’ll just have a good go at it and see how we go.”
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=4231