The Cree School Board’s public speaking contest started in Waskaganish in 1989, and has since been hosted in Waswanipi, Nemaska and Wemindji. The event is sponsored by a host school with support from student services.

This year’s contest will be hosted by James Bay Eeyou School in Chisasibi, the largest school in the Cree School Board with a student population of nearly 1,000. The contest is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 27.

The following is the list of topics from which students may choose to talk about:

1. What I like most about my community.

2. What hunting and trapping mean to me.

3. Why I plan to finish high school and go to college.

4. The importance of Cree Language, Elders or Traditions in my life.

5. The qualities of the person I most admire.

6. What I have learned through participation in extra-curricular activities.

7. Teenage suicide prevention.

Students may choose to speak in English, French or Cree. Winners will be chosen from each of the three categories and prizes will be awarded to the winners. One grand prize will be awarded to the school team with the highest point total.

Female participants are asked to wear dresses and male participants should wear a shirt and tie. Jeans and running shoes are not permitted. Speeches must be a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes. There should be little or no reading from prepared notes, although prompt cards are acceptable. Speeches are presumed to be the original work of the participants.

Participants are generally chosen by a local competition held by each school. One student is chosen from each language category to represent the school at the regional event. Local competitions should respect the rules of the regional competition in order to prepare the students.

The contest is open to all secondary students registered in the Cree School Board. For more information, see your teacher or student services.