It was the story of a bride who walked down the aisle with a man whose heart had come from her late father that inspired Bradford’s Jamie White to write about the importance of organ donation.
And it was with that speech the 16-year-old Holy Trinity Catholic High School student won first place in a provincial Lions Clubs International Multiple District A effecting speaking contest.
“I guess I have a talent for it,” said White, who is the daughter of former mayor, Doug White. “I’ve always liked speaking in front of people. I like making people laugh. I like inspiring people.”
White, who wants to become a lawyer, said preparing five- to seven-minute-long speeches and competing in front of crowds will help her with her future career.
“I do get nervous. I turn it into energy; I turn it into a positive. My speech is always the best when I’m under pressure,” she said.
White won $1,000 for taking home first place in the senior English category.
Students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 from around Ontario competed at the provincial finals in St. Catharines May 4-6.
Brooke Davenport, who attends W. H. Day Elementary School in Bradford, placed second in the junior French category for her speech about pollination.
White said, for her speech, she also drew on the experiences of two of her mom’s friends, who had liver transplants.
“We’ve watched someone whose skin was green… to now being a vital part of family life again. It’s magical to see,” said Jamie’s mom, Jeanene White.
Sixteen students from eight local schools competed in this year’s provincial contest — the Lions’ 71st effective speaking championship — but all schools are invited to participate, said the Bradford Lions Club’s Debbie Jeske.
If a student’s school is not participating, he or she can contact the Lions and sign up as an individual, she added.
Bradford was also the only community to send more than one finalist to the provincials, Jeske said.
“The girls were amazing and informative,” she said referring to White and Davenport. “This is just one of the many youth programs that support and encourage the youth in Bradford and the province.”