A Castlegar student has won a top award in a provincial French public speaking competition.
Chloe Sirges, a Grade 10 French Immersion student at Stanley Humphries Secondary School, placed second at Concours d’art oratoire (translation: Contest of oratory arts) in Surrey on Saturday, May 7. The event is put on annually by Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon.
Sirges has been in French Immersion since Grade 6 and placed in the Grade 10 Immersion category.
Her winning speech was “Le vegetarisme est devenu un problem” (translation: “Vegetarianism has become a problem”), a satirical speech as she herself is vegetarian.
“I was talking about how one cow is equal to 1,800 hamburgers, so how we’re being more efficient by eating meat, and it was kind of stupid excuses that are pretty obviously fake, but have some logic to them if you really want to be against vegetarianism,” explained Sirges. “I made kind of a prod into the joke that we should be eating more meat: in fact, the ant population is roughly equivalent to the weight of the human population, so we should be eating those before they take over the world.”
Last year Sirges’ speech was a biography of Dr. Seuss told completely in rhyme. She did well and decided to stick with humour.
“I participated last year as well and I came out of it having done quite well. I knew already as I was going home I needed to find a subject I could have just as much fun with, so I figured poking fun at myself is a good way to do it, and if I point out that I’m poking fun at myself it’s really hard to offend people as well,” she said.
Following her performance this year, Sirges believes humour is the best approach.
“Speeches at Concours tend to be a formal speech. There were a couple of speeches on feminism in my group, mental illness — informative speeches — but to really entertain people and to entertain yourself and to have fun, I find it just has to be a humour speech,” she said.
Students need to be in Grades 11 and 12 to be able to advance to nationals, and Sirges hopes that next year she’ll place high enough to compete at the national level.