THE Celebration Of Words; known as the COWS Competition is in its fifth year.
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Students competed in an event held by the Raymond Terrace Lions Club and Port Stephens Council.
The schools competed speaking about issues that impact young people of Port Stephens.
The speaking topics that students picked from were linked to the key themes of the 2020 to 2022 Youth Plan; including us, somewhere to live, living green, happy and healthy, feeling safe, and skilled and ready.
Council’s James Campbell told News Of The Area, “COWS is funded by Council’s Cultural Projects grant program and run by the Raymond Terrace Lions Club.”
In 2019, teams from Irrawang High, Hunter River High, and St Philip’s Christian College participated with Irrawang winning the event.
“There was a real interest in environmental issues, youth leadership and connecting young people to community via events,” he said.
Raymond Terrace’s Lion and COWS organiser Ted Arneson told News Of The Area, “This year there were 19 topics for the students to choose from this year and many of the speeches focused on the environment.”
The competition was judged by Councillor Giacomo Arnott, Lions representative and retired primary school teacher Neil Goldthorpe and retired high school teacher Wendy Bridge.
Year 10 students Emma Cotton, Chloe Langius, and Sasha Gutsulyak competed on behalf of St Philip’s Christian College.
Miss Johnston, the supervising teacher from St Philip’s Christian College, told News Of The Area, “Their speeches revealed a passionate desire for the environment of Port Stephens to be maintained so that it is still able to be enjoyed in the future.”
Emma Cotton’s speech was largely inspired by her participation in a canoeing weekend for the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award Adventurous Journey, Emma’s speech urged the community to refuse, recycle, reduce, and reuse in order to protect our environment.
Council is keen to hear from the young people of Port Stephens who are invited to have their say on the new Youth Plan, which will capture what our young people think is important for their future.
Visit https://haveyoursay.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/Participate to complete the survey.
Stories from the COWS night will also be used to contribute to the development of the new Youth Plan for the region.
By Marian SAMPSON