Lions Youth of the Year finalists Johannes Dickman and Lachlan Ries (Chinchilla), Kaitlin Radford and Hannah Coffey (Roma), Grace Butters and Karsten Duval (Dalby).
Lions Youth of the Year finalists Johannes Dickman and Lachlan Ries (Chinchilla), Kaitlin Radford and Hannah Coffey (Roma), Grace Butters and Karsten Duval (Dalby).

’Amazing’ Roma students inspire in Youth of the Year competition

STUDENTS of the southwest have stepped up to the podium among stiff competition to vie for the Lions Youth of the Year award – a prize recognising the best young leaders from across Australia.

Six contestants from St John’s Roma, Chinchilla State High School, and Dalby State High School faced off in a daunting public speaking contest to decide the local representative for the next stage of the competition.

Lachlan Ries, vice-captain of Chinchilla State High School, won Saturday’s regional heat which was hosted by the Lions Club of Roma.

The year 12 student will go on to the next zonal heat in Pittsworth next month, and lauded the experience of the competition so far.

“Getting involved in the experience in general has been absolutely amazing,” he said.

“It teaches you a lot, and to know that I can go further with it and meet even more people.

“My public speaking also improved, which really is the main thing for me, and I think it is really awesome that I get to have this experience.”

Standing up and speaking in front of a crowd is a daunting challenge for most, but these young people confidently took it in their stride.

Kaitlin Radford and Hannah Coffey, Lions Youth of the Year finalists from St John's Roma.
Kaitlin Radford and Hannah Coffey, Lions Youth of the Year finalists from St John's Roma.

Roma students Hannah Coffey (year 10) and Kaitlin Radford (year 11) also entered the competition to improve their oratory skills.

“Later on I plan to run for prefect of the school, and they do a lot of speaking in front of the entire student body, so I thought this would be a good starting place,” miss Radford said.

“I feel is it always good to back yourself.”

Each of the contestants wowed the judges with their abilities, along with contest chairman Paul Hutchinson.

He said the entrants, as well as the winner, are shining examples for their peers.

“The competition seeks out the best person to represent the youth of Australia for Lions,” he said.

“But more than that, it is about the improvements and growth in their leadership and confidence.

“Their ability to get up and talk about subjects that I would not have been able to talk about at their age – they are an amazing group of young people,”


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