Lions Club of Balgowlah, Inc.

District 201N5, New South Wales, Australia.

Youth Of The Year

Andie Thorpe (winner); Lillian Teale (winner public speaking; Rebekah Thwaites all from Mackellar Girls Campus

See below regarding the local final Lions Club of Balgowlah  held on held on Wednesday 21st February 2018

. The schools in our area are Mackellar, Manly Selective, St Luke's Grammar; St Augustine's, Freshwater Campus, Balgowlah High; out of area Oxford Falls Grammar.

Lilli's speech wins public speaking competition.

Lillian Teale, a 15 year old student at Mackellar Girls Campus won the Public speaking segment in the local final of the Lions Youth of the Year. Lilli's speech, titled “Expectations” is set out in full below.Please read it in full. We think it is fantastic!

Andie Thorpe and Rebekah Thwaites also from Mackellar also competed.

Andie was the overall winner and goes on to compete in the Lions Regional Final at Belrose Bowling Club on Monday 5th March.Congratulations Andie on an excellent performance.

Lions Clubs around Australia organize this competition every year to provide opportunities for self development to Australian youth. National Australia Bank is the major sponsor of this national competition.

Judges Carmen Bouveng; Alexandra McGregor; Ruth Seymour

Carmen Bouveng, manager National Australia Bank Brookvale/Warringah Mall who has been a judge each year for the past eight years said “Lilli's speech and her presentation were the best I have heard from a contestant”.

See what you think.


“When I was four I went on holiday with my cousins.

There was a rope swing in a tree at a nearby river.

All the other, older cousins couldn’t bring

themselves to brave the tree but I waddled my 4-

year-old backside up that tree. When I reached the

top I could see why everyone chickened out, it was

so high! I sat there clutching the rope for a good

20 minutes. The rest of my family looking up at

me, no one expected me, a 4-year-old girl to be

able to do it. But I knew, in my heart, that I could

do this. I took a big breath and shouted, “I believe

I can fly!” and launched my self out of that tree.

After that everyone followed behind and we had

lots of fun. But it was that burst of courage that

pushed me out of that tree; out of my comfort

zone. I didn’t do it to impress other people, to

fulfill their expectations of me. I did it to fulfill my

expectations of me. I did because I wanted to; for

the sheer joy.

Now facing decisions that will affect my future, I

want to have that same courage. I want to follow

my own path. I want to believe I can fly, but I

don’t know if I can anymore.

We all struggle with expectations from society,

family, peers, teachers. And while these

expectations come from a good place, the way we

interpret them can be unhealthy. It is a big factor

in what is becoming a big problem, mental health.

Having unrealistic or even high expectations may

push a child to work harder but they grow to have

the mindset that if I do not achieve you won’t love

me. Love is measured by successes, academic,

sporting or musical. Not only does this cause

unhealthy amounts of stress but causes people to

make decisions that are untrue to themselves.

People get caught up trying to make other people

happy instead of themselves. How many people

get to live their lives living up to their own

expectations? And research shows that to lead a

truly happy life you must follow your own path.

The internet and social media are full of positivity

quotes: #beyourself #climbthatmountain

#followyourdream. And that’s all well and good.

But the reality is those hashtags come with a

caveat. #followyourdreams as long as your dreams fit into the idea that you will become a

famous artist, successful business man, the best

singer, a gold medalist. Basically being rich or

famous and to be admired by the lesser folk. Only

then will you find happiness. There is an unspoken

accepted norm in society that you have to be the

best; that even if you get into the academic stream

you must push to be top, even if you get into

orchestra you must strive to get first violin. You

have to be amazing. You have to be the best.

Even if that’s not what you want.

So how will I be true to myself? For starters, I’m

going to be brave. It takes an insane amount of

courage to be able to say “no”. I’m going to do

what I want, what I am passionate about. I love

flowers. It’s my dream to become a florist. My

names Lilli after all. But people tell me it’s not an

esteemed/respected career, more of a fallback

career and I should aim higher. But what if I told

you that 90% of florists (gardeners and beauticians

too) say they are happy. Why isn’t a career that

almost promises future happiness and a well-led

life more admired? It will take an awful lot of courage to bypass the usual academic route and

take up my passion.

But to choose this path and stay true to myself, I

must also be humble. To me humility does not

equal low expectations or low drive but to see

every option as equal. There is nothing that says

one profession, one job, on path is any better than

the other so why do we think there is?

I don’t claim to have the answers but as 15 year

old this is what I see and what I believe. So help

me, help us. Every young person you have the

pleasure of nurturing, teaching, loving, please help

them to be brave and humble. Tell them the only

thing they need to look for is to be content and

proud of what they do. So here I am, I am still a four

year old in a tree, I see the water, it’s scary, it’s a

long way down but I’m going to jump because I’m

the kind of girl who jumps. But I’m jumping for me!

The six State finalists win a trip together to the State of the National winner, plus $500 spending money. The National winner will be chosen in May 2018, and will win a trip to a country of their choice to value of $4,000, including  spending money. There is also a $2,000 prize for the National Public Speaking winner. Major sponsor is National Australia Bank (NAB).

Article below from 2017 winner.