When youth excels – Zachary August to speak at Parliament House

Zachary August, a Year 10 student from The Scots College in Bellevue Hill, has been awarded third place out of 200 hundred entries in the 2014 My First Speech competition, which aims to raise awareness of the Federal Parliament among young Australians. Years 10 to 12 students from all over Australia competed in the competition, encouraging students to envision themselves as a newly elected member of the House of Representatives giving their first speech on what matters most to them.

Zachary August's speech focused on the importance of funding education; using the metaphor of life as a path with education being the light that guides our way over obstacles. In his speech Zachary discusses how important tertiary education is in growing our nation. Zachary wrote: "The most important vehicle for growth and development in society is education - it is the wisest investment our society can make. What if that boy who was deprived a place in university because of crippling debt was the brain that would cure cancer? What if that illiterate man would have written the next great epic?"

As part of his prize, Zachary has been invited to go to Canberra in December to undertake a leadership program with the Prime Minister and other members of Parliament before delivering his speech live at Parliament House. Zachary, who aspires to become a Diplomat, said about his upcoming visit to Parliament House: "this has been an amazing confidence boost and I am immensely looking forward to the opportunity to not only visit Parliament House but to speak there."

"I was very overwhelmed when I got the email saying I had won; to be recognised by the Government for my speaking was beyond any other prize I have received" said Zachary.

The entries were judged by a panel consisting of Mr Ewen Jones MP, Member for Herbert, Queensland, Hon Alannah MacTiernan MP, Member for Perth, Western Australia and Mark Riley - Political Editor, Seven Network.