STANDING alone on stage and speaking for four minutes may be a dreadful experience for some teenagers, but it could also be a wonderful experience, as proved by participants of the Public Speaking section of the Joint School Debating Society Speech Contest.
The contest, in its sixth year, was aimed at stimulating interest to speak out among secondary school students. It also provided an opportunity for students to compete in a friendly atmosphere.
Contestants in the Public Speaking category delivered a self-written short speech on the theme of ''Conflict''.
Participants demonstrated their public speaking skills and styles through a variety of ways ranging from emotional deliveries and serious speeches to informal and relaxing talks.
Sixteen-year-old Victor Glowacki of Hong Kong International School beat his rivals with an inspiring speech on the Daya Bay nuclear plant.
Adjudicator Richard Morre of the British Council was impressed by Victor's performance.
''He stayed very much on one line of argument and followed it through. He didn't try any gimmick and he was straight to the point,'' Mr Morre said.
When Young Post asked Victor to pick a line he considered most impressive from his speech, he read out the following question: ''. . . is cheaper and more plentiful power worth the risk of being 50 km from a potential disaster area?'' ''I had a strong feeling about Daya Bay when I read about it in the newspapers. I didn't realise how serious the problem was till then. We live in Hong Kong and we should be aware of this,'' he said.
Victor, a member of the society's senior debating team, said he was surprised to win. He spent two weeks preparing his speech.
The young debater recently won the best speaker award in the Model United Nations Conference held recently.
Runner-up Melvina Cheung May-king of Marymount Secondary School delivered a speech on internal conflict.
''I was inspired by pictures on television - injustice, the dead, scenes of horror - the root is the conflict within each one of us,'' Melvina said.
Michael Smith of Hong Kong International School came third with a solemn and thoughtful speech on the parallels between historical events in Germany and the present situation in Russia.
''If we look at the past, we can find ways to deal with current conflicts,'' said the sixth former, who has a keen interest in history and politics.
The winner will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship while the first and second runners-up will receive a $200 and $100 scholarship, respectively, at a prize presentation to be held at the City Hall on May 22.