Ewan MacQueen’s speech on Transformation won the inaugural Gunthorpe Shield public speaking competition at the Casino RSM on Wednesday, November 22.
His speech was meticulously memorised and delivered to an inspired audience.
Competing alongside Ewan was Ruby Beckenham and James Holmstrom-Davis.
The Lion’s Club judges were impressed with the originality and diversity of speeches from the Casino High School students.
Ruby spoke about working for COW FM and James presented a rap performance poem on the devastating effects of drugs.
All speakers received a certificate of recognition, pen and money as a prize.
Here is Ewan’s winning speech.
Transformation. It is a beautiful word, it tastes delightful, and means something powerful. It is the change from something into something else, and like all people, has been a great gear in the machinations of my life.
It is the word that describes my growth from a little, unlearned boy into a functioning young man. It is a staple of the plots of popular culture and narratives as a whole. It’s the biggest part of my favourite TV show, one that I adored as a child and one I’ve only grown to admire more.
My childhood, and who I was then is very different to the life I lead now. I’m thankful for this, because while it was a time I know was filled with smiles, joy, entertainment and imagination, I was also very immature. I positively despised doing something I didn’t want to do or going somewhere that I didn’t know well. I didn’t allow myself to feel better after my spirits fell. I was unwise, undeveloped, and unready for the real world. I was also physically pathetic. I’m glad I can say that stuff, because it’s about me, and also because I like who I am now. I am now maturer, smarter, fitter, and betterer at games than I used to be. This is in great part not just to practise and new experiences, but guidance, from parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and even televised shows and a variety of stories.
These stories present flawed views and portrayals of humans. The unpopular new kid, the outcast of the village with strange powers, the average joe that amounts to nothing. These characters are created from the knowledge and experience of the creators, creating art that reflects life.
And since failure is the greatest teacher, after a while of simply enjoying the stories, I decided to learn from them. I saw what didn’t work, the stupid lies, the self-loathing, the anxiety, awkwardness and apathy, then I did the reverse. I made sure that whatever I did, it wouldn’t be like these flawed characters, and it was a surefire strategy to improve the effectiveness of my actions and the stability of my emotions.
I guess the characters thought so too, because most of their character arcs are built around taking down these key negative traits! Over the course of the story, the movie, even the whole show, they’re guided towards and or work towards making their flaws into small, bearable traits, or transforming them into beneficial attributes.
Turning cowardice into courage, leaving their traumas behind, making good friends, and finding true love. If you watch the first and last episodes of a show back to back, I’d bet you’d hardly recognise the characters who underwent these developments. But I can’t say the same for a certain hero, one Ben Tennyson, but he has a different kind of transformative experience.
Ben 10 is a hero with a watch that literally transforms him into aliens. And it is the coolest thing out there, in my not so humble opinion. It all begins in an American forest with a ten year old boy, his cousin, and their grandpa on a summer vacation road-trip. While on a walk in the forest, the boy spots a shooting star flying through the air… that then changes course and crashes towards him.
Narrowly avoiding obliteration, he then looks in the crater it made to find the meteorite, and finds a capsule containing a watch, the Omnitrix. After he puts it on, Ben Tennyson is attacked by aliens, villains and machines for the rest of his road trip, but he manages to fight them all off with the menagerie of creatures he can change into. The mighty four armed fighter Four-Arms, the super-fast speed demon XLR8, the shining crystalmancer Diamondhead, and even the titanic super-alien Way Big, are only a few of them.
He doesn’t give up the watch or his duty as a hero as he gets older, using it as a 15 and 16 year old with even more cool alien forms. The chloromancing vine-man Swampfire, the light-blasting crystalline Chromastone, and the unstoppable intimidating Humungosoar to name a few. Each and every alien is cool and unique to a degree, even the pathetic Walkatrout, and it has been a blast every time I’ve imagined having the device.
Man, transformation is cool. Ben 10 taught me that first, with it’s awesome Omnitrix and the gazillion forms within. Then I learned how it can be good for all fiction, experiencing grand character changes that made them so much better.
Changes that also happened to me have helped me grow, learn, and improve, making me so much better than I used to be. So, I’m glad it happened to me, all of it, and I hope that I can only improve from here on out.