High school students Take the Lead in their educational pursuits


April 4, 2011
London, ON – On Saturday April 9, 2011,   more than 20 young women from high schools across Ontario will put their public   speaking skills to the test at Brescia University College. In partnership with   the Institute for Women in Leadership (iWIL), Brescia is hosting its third   Take the Lead High School Public Speaking Contest that day, which will   culminate in the presentation of a full one-year fall/winter academic   scholarship to Brescia to the first-place winner.The public speaking contest is designed to give young women in Grades 11 and   12 the opportunity to prepare and present a five-minute speech outlining what   “women in leadership” means to them.

“We at Brescia believe that leadership isn’t a quality you’re born with or   something that you spontaneously develop. Leadership is a choice. Brescia’s   Take the Lead Public Speaking Contest gives young women the venue to   speak up about a topic that they care deeply about,” explains Brescia Principal,   Colleen Hanycz. “To me, recognizing what you’re passionate about and feeling   empowered enough to discuss it in a public forum exemplifies leadership in one   of its truest forms.”

Take the Lead participants present their speeches to a panel of   judges in a series of preliminary rounds in the morning of April 9. The speakers   with the top scores in the preliminary rounds then present their speeches once   more in a finalist round judged by prominent female leaders.

Mary Lou Finlay – journalist, writer, and well-known former host of CBC’s   As It Happens, will be returning as the final-round head judge. “I was   honoured to be invited back as the head judge for Brescia’s 2011 Take the   Lead High School Public Speaking Contest,” says Finlay. “Last year the   energy was palpable. I was amazed that these 17-and 18-year-old women were so   poised and spoke so poignantly about an important topic – women in leadership.   Deciding on a winner wasn’t easy, and I don’t expect that it will be this year   either.”

Finlay won’t be alone in making the difficult decision of selecting a winner.   She will be joined by the following panel of final-round judges:

  • Andrea Dunn, on-air personality on the FM96 afternoon show;
  • Jane Fitzgerald, executive director of Children’s Aid Society of London and   Middlesex;
  • Joan Francolini, O.ONT., past chair of Brescia University College   Foundation;
  • Christine Peet, Take the Lead 2010 finalist and Brescia University   College student.

To learn more about the Take the Lead contest, visit: www.brescia.uwo.ca/iwil/takethelead/

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For more information, please contact Sheila Blagrave, director of   communications, marketing, and external relations at Brescia (sblagrav@uwo.ca; 519-432-8353 (extension   28293)                                                 Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university   college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women   registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety   of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an   empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment.   Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all   backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit www.brescia.uwo.ca