WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely with some of the students in the competition. (Source: North Strand Optimist Club)
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Twelve very bright students from North Myrtle Beach area schools battled Wednesday night... using their minds and talent.
Each student had between 4 and 5 minutes to present a speech on the topic: "How my best brings out the best in others." It was all part of the North Strand Optimist Club's Oratorical contest at North Myrtle Beach Middle School. Many students talked about the adversity they faced, and the importance of optimism to overcome struggles, discrimination and obstacles in their lives. The competition was fierce; in the end, just a few points separated the winners.
"I just thought this would be fun and I'd have a little experience with it, so I tried out, last year I didn't really do well, but this year, it was actually quite a shocker that I made it," said North Myrtle Beach Middle School student Phillip Eustace, who won the competition, and a cash prize. Eustace also mentioned his 9-year-old brother in his speech, who’d overcome odds after health complications. Eustace said his best helped influence his brother through the struggles.
The other top finishers were Maria Platis and Alexandria Banning. The top two go onto compete in the zone competition which is scheduled for April 23rd at the First United Methodist Church in Myrtle Beach. The competition then goes on to the National level.
WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely was also honored to serve as an alternate judge and speak about the importance of communication at the event. "You're all so very talented," said Maely "It was very difficult to help pick a winner here. I liked how all of you talked about your struggles and how you overcame them and used your positive attitude to help bring out the best in others. I hope you realize you have an amazing opportunity to motivate your peers to engage in positive and constructive communication with others, whether it's someone who maybe seems a little shy, or someone who's just having a bad day," Maely told the audience. He also thanked the parents and teachers for serving as an inspiration for the contestants.