FARMINGTON — Nicole Pires won first prize at the annual Lions High School Speaking Contest held at Mt. Blue High School. She will go on to the regional contest in a few weeks and, if she wins, she will be invited to compete in the finals held during the Lions district convention in late April.

The event is co-sponsored by the Farmington Lions Club and the Wilton Lions Club. Each contestant is allowed five minutes and is judged on a variety of skills, including delivery, materials in speech and responses to two questions.

Pires’ speech involved persuading the audience to talk about religion and faith with an open mind, specifically by encouraging the adoption of world religion courses in high school. She observed that religion is not often a subject of conversation among contemporaries.

Second-place winner, Katherine Hayes, spoke about what motivates her. Her biggest passions are competition, music and service. Her speech was taken from the essays she wrote for her college applications.

Logan Ross, third-place winner, took as his topic “Leaving the Nest.” He believes it is time for him to be on his own, and he is looking forward to the independence of college and fulfilling his passion of being a teacher and giving back to society.

The students prepared their speeches under the guidance of Mt. Blue High School teacher, Debbie Muise.

Farmington Lions acting as judges and questioners were Colon Durrell, Tom Hagerstrom, Eric Apland and Jeff Wright. Co-chairing the event were Bill Fletcher, Wilton Lions, and Ron Cullenberg, Farmington Lions.

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