Public Speaking

OPINIONS APLENTY

Impromptu brilliance gives Calgary teen a world title

JOHN INTINI May 9 2005
Public Speaking

OPINIONS APLENTY

Impromptu brilliance gives Calgary teen a world title

JOHN INTINI May 9 2005

OPINIONS APLENTY

Public Speaking

Impromptu brilliance gives Calgary teen a world title

JESSICA ROBERTSHAW always speaks her mind. It’s a trait that can get teens in trouble, but it recently helped the 17-year-old Calgarian earn the title of best impromptu speaker at the 2005 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship in Cyprus. The Grade 12 student, who made the finals with a five-minute speech about a hamand-cheese sandwich, plans to study drama at the University of Calgary this fall and is considering a career in law. We tested the fast-thinking fast-talker with a range of topics, giving her one minute to prep for each two-minute speech. Some excerpts:

RE-GIFTING

My mother’s family used to re-gift every present they ever received. Some may find it tacky, inconsiderate or downright rude, but that’s unfair. For starters, it’s a moneysaver. Do you really think the gift-givers would want their money to be wasted? Absolutely not. Re-gifting is also a timesaver since you don’t have to waste time searching in malls. Of course, it doesn’t always work perfectly. A few years ago, I received a lovely

Robertshaw got into the finals with a five-minute speech about a ham-andcheese sandwich

green flannel nightgown from my grandmother—not something I’d wear for a million dollars. So I put it in my closet. A few years later, on my grandmother’s birthday, my mom pulled it out of the closetforgetting it was once a gift for me—and with the tag still on it, wrapped it up and

gave it to her. When she opened it, she immediately realized it was the nightgown she bought me four years earlier. Let’s just say that was the last time my family re-gifted a present.

GENOCIDE

The big question is do we interfere? Should the UN or individual nations act when they believe atrocities are taking place within countries. Some argue that taking action is imposing on another country’s sovereignty. But since we value human life, it’s something that needs to be done. In Rwanda, where 800,000 people died because of a conflict between two warring tribes, the UN could do little because some member nations blocked the UN’s power. Peoples’ lives could have been saved if all the UN nations had worked together. Now we’re facing a similar crisis in Sudan. But for some reason, we can’t decide if we should interfere, when all we have to do is look back at past examples when lives could have been saved. Above all, human life should be valued.

BRITNEY SPEARS

What drives the public’s obsession with this little pop tart who, incredibly, was pictured in the Calgary Herald because she’s pregnant? It comes down to her looks, her overly sexualized songs and, of course, her wild antics. With her bleached-blond hair and often a total lack of clothing, it’s hard to miss her. And Britney’s not only a major sex symbol but a fashion trendsetter. Just think of the lovely sweatsuit she wore at her wedding. Of course, the public interest is also based on her sexually inappropriate songs, which show a downright inept musical ability. And don’t forget her highly publicized romances with Colin Farrell and Justin Timberlake, and that she was married for a few hours in Vegas before later marrying a backup dancer. Why do we care? Mainly because watching her mess of a life is good fun.

FAST-FOOD BURGERS They may be the staple of many North American diets, but there are more than a few reasons why they’re terrible. They’re filled with carbohydrates, protein that is saturated in fat and few important nutrients. They contribute to obesity, which leads to high cholesterol and heart disease, which then puts pressure on our heath-care system. And fast food also takes away from good home-cooked family dinners, which allow people to sit down at a table and have conversations about their day. Grabbing burgers on the run contributes to the breakdown of important family time. Of course, in moderation, it’s still one of the best treats. JOHN INTINI