Thursday, March 7, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Local Youth Win Big At Lions Youth Of The Year Zone Finals

The region’s Lions Clubs have celebrated their 2024 Zone Youth of the Year competition, with a lively speech competition held in Collinsville last weekend.

The four regional Lions Clubs, Bowen, Proserpine, Whitsunday, and Home Hill-Ayr each sent a local student to Collinsville for the Zone final.

Each student spoke with confidence and poise, their prepared speech eloquently spoken and performed, and their two impromptu speeches delivered with educated knowledge.

All the students should be commended on their excellent performance.

Bowen’s Lions candidate, Ryland Gaffney of Bowen State High School returned home as the overall winner of the event, with Mia Vloedmans of Proserpine State High School receiving the award for Public Speaking.

Mia delivered the same speech she delivered at the local Club competition last month about her journey with Type 1 Diabetes but came up against different impromptu questions about school attendance and preferences on being an employee to being a boss.

Mia said she was grateful for the experience the Lion’s Youth of the Year Competition provided.

“I’ve been able to improve my public speaking skills and having to think on my feet,” she said.

“I also had to be up to date with news and current affairs for answering questions in my interview.”

Ryland’s prepared speech explored the role the media has on domestic violence and reporting against women and their children, particularly with the murder of Australian woman Hannah Clarke and her three young children.

“This topic is important to me as the media has a profound impact on shaping public perceptions and a topic such as domestic violence deserve accurate reporting for those impacted,” Ryland explained.

For the impromptu questions, Ryland took the questions in his stride, relating the topics to his personal life.

Ryland will now represent the Zone in Townsville at the District Final on March 16.

“I am very keen to move onto the district finals and am very privileged,” Ryland explained.

“I have had immense support from my school and community which has motivated me to strive for the best.

“While the competition is bound to be tough, I am prepared to give the other competitors a run for their money fuelled by the support I’ve received.

“A special mention to my grandma who has supported me along this journey!”

1: Jacob Machin of Collinsville State High School, Mia Vloedmans from Proserpine State High School, Ryland Gaffney from Bowen State High School, and Maeve Hornstra of St Catherine’s Catholic College

   1. Mia Vloedmans and Ryland Gaffney at Zone Finals of Youth of the Year

   2. Ryland with his grandmother. Photos supplied

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