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Annual Student Communication Contests Reimagined During the Pandemic

Students normally come together at big events like the annual Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Grade 7 Public Speaking Challenge. This year, due to the pandemic, the events were reimagined virtually to continue to provide learning experiences that empower students with the skills and opportunities that help them succeed. The annual communications contests provide early chances to try presenting in front of an audience and can reduce the fear of standing up in front of a group later in life.

Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

An annual spring event, the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is in its 26th year. This year’s virtual contest had student presenters reflecting on living through a global pandemic, with the theme: “Healing the World with Optimism.” The event brings together students from across BC. It is put on by the Provincial Outreach Program: Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which is hosted by the Burnaby School District (along with the BC Provincial School for the Deaf).

Burnaby Board of Education Chair, Jen Mezei, spoke at the communication contest:

Today is about more than just presentations, as important as they are. This competition is part of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Connections week. I don’t have to tell you that deaf culture is unique and part of a rich history with a beautiful language. Having opportunities to connect with a peer group is especially important to maintain in the midst of the pandemic.”

Friendship Day kicked off Deaf and Hard of Hearing Connections Week. About 200 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 – from districts throughout BC – participated in an interactive Zoom session with a seasoned Cirque du Soleil artist and world-famous Deaf clown, physical actor and mime: Max Fomitchev – who is also known as Maxi Mime.

You can watch the entire Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing – which is sponsored by the Coquitlam Optimist Club here.

Grade 7 Public Speaking Challenge

Since 1983, every year students across the District are challenged to create and present a speech on a theme. This year – after so many months of living through a pandemic – students reflected on the theme “Life Lessons They Have Learned in 2020.” They delivered the speech in front of their classroom peers, and the top speaker from each class moved on to the next level. With the District finals event on hiatus, school finalists competed against counterparts in other schools via live video.


Posted April 2021