Students at Millarville Community School got a crash course on real life speaking skills this past month, by participating in a Youth Leadership Program.

The program, sponsored by Toastmasters International, The intent of the program is to help youth build their skill sets in communication and leadership in preparation of becoming
the next generation of leaders in business, industry, and community.

Matthew Hanson, Grade 7 and 8 English Instructor says after the course students had a chance to compete for some prizes using their new found speech etiquette.

"Toastmasters had been run for about 6 or 7 weeks prior to the competition, so every week our representative from Toastmasters would come and work with the class going over how to develop a speech, deliver a speech, speech etiquette, and topic selection," he says. "Last week was the culmination of all of that where judges were brought in from Toastmasters, and each student was able to develop their own speech and then deliver that in front of a crowd."

This is the second year Millarville School has included Toastmasters in their English Language Arts Program, Hanson shares the course has been very beneficial to students.

"What I like as a teacher of writing is I found it makes them see the ideas we've been talking about all year exist outside of the classroom. It hammers home what we've been talking about in class, and gives them the confidence of getting up in front of a peer group and being able to speak eloquently, and with persuasion."

He adds that in the age of social media and technology children are being raised in, making sure to develop face to face interaction skills in youth is paramount.

"To give them the confidence to go up and talk to someone, even with all the technology and our reliance on that I don't think face to face conversation is ever going to go away. You need those skills to meet someone, talk with someone, and have relationships, you need to be able to make that face to face connection. I think a program like this really gives them the building blocks to do that professionally."

Hanson says he's already looking forward to fitting Toastmasters back into the schedule next year.

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