MONTREAL, MARCH 7, 2011 – While the annual public speaking competition is often daunting for most students, Lester B. Pearson High School’s Anthony Di Stefano made the most of his final high school competition by placing second in the province and being selected as the only public school student from Quebec to qualify for the National Public Speaking Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Pitted against steep and experienced competition in The ‘Peg, Stefano finished the competition ranked 17th out of the 48 competitors, highlighted by being selected as a finalist in the Persuasive Speaking round for his speech on the Fresh Water Crisis. The other disciplines included Interpretative Reading, Parliamentary Debating, and Impromptu Speaking.
“Just competing was a privilege! It was my first time in this competition and once I got there, after a couple minutes, I already knew that this was going to be an experience like nothing else,” said Stefano. “Having placed so high in the competition was a plus, I really had the most amazing time and experience.
“I took the whole public speaking experience one step at a time and enjoyed it for the moment. This is an experience that you don’t really let go of,” he added. “I felt a positive nervousness throughout, who comes here every day to do this, you know? It was one of those feelings. If I would have walked away in 4th or 5th place, I would have been happy just to have been there.”
For Stefano, the competition will serve as a perfect foundation for what he hopes to become a future of many speeches. Following his graduation from Lester B. Pearson High School, he hopes to study Pure and Applied Science at Marianopolis College. Ultimately, Stefano would like to pursue a degree in Meteorology.
“My ultimate goal is to teach Meteorology at a university level. I realize that public speaking will be necessary in my future as I will need to talk to students and convey the right message. It’s a great asset to have,” he said. ”Once you watch your first natural disaster movie, you become hooked on Meteorology. I’ve always had questions about the weather, I’ve tried to find things out on my own, I’ve read books which have just made me more interested. I know my job will never get boring, the weather is always changing!”
While being called Professor Stefano is a few years off, for now, Anthony is basking in his recent success with friends and family. “I have to thank my parents; they have so much confidence in me. Part of this trip was to make them proud,” added Stefano. “I also had so much support from my English teacher Jennifer Maselli and my coach Mille Malde. I owe them so much thanks, I do not think I would have been able to get that far without their help and support.”