Moree's Elka Devney wins Rotary District 9650 public speaking competition

Moree Secondary College student Elka Devney has won a 10-day trip to New Zealand after winning Rotary District 9650's public speaking competition final on the weekend.

The finals of the District Public Speaking Competition were held as part of Rotary D9650's annual conference, held in Armidale on March 9 and 10.

The competition commences at club level where students from the local high schools compete. The winner at club level then proceeds to the next level of their nearby group of Rotary Clubs cluster. The winner at that level then proceeds to the semi-finals which was held in Walcha this year.

Four finalists are then selected to proceed to the District Conference.

At the Walcha semi-finals, Moree winner Elka was the selected first reserve for the finals at Armidale in the event that one of the other finalists was unable to make it. This did in fact happen.


The four finalists from across the Rotary District represented the Rotary Clubs of Armidale Central, Wingham, Quirindi and Moree-on-Gwydir.

Each student has to speak for four minutes on a topic of their choice and after this section is completed, they are then taken out of earshot of the public speaking area and individually given the topic for an impromptu speech. Each student only gets the topic of the speech two minutes before they have to present it. They also only have two minutes to give the speech and points are deducted if they go over the time.

The topic for this year’s impromptu speech was 'A valuable lesson I have learnt'.

The judges comprised of members of Toastmasters and each has a judging sheet with the various categories that each speaker is judged on. At the conclusion of the speeches, their scores were tallied to decide the winner.

Elka was named the winner, much to the delight her parents, David and Jenny, and the members of the Rotary Club of Moree-on-Gwydir, who all travelled over to the Conference to support her.

Elka wins a 10 day trip to New Zealand sponsored by Chris Watson Travel from Tamworth and will be hosted by the Rotary Club of Masterton, New Zealand.