WINGHAM High School captain, Joel Hedge has been judged the outright winner of the district final of the Lions Youth of the Year Quest at a formal dinner at Port Macquarie last Saturday evening.
Representing Taree Lions Club, Joel spent nearly an hour during the day being questioned by a judging panel of five about aspects of his impressive academic, cultural and community achievements.
In the evening, winners from the six Lions' regions of the district were pitted against each other in the public speaking part of the quest. This involved answering two impromptu questions, each with a two-minute time allocation and then delivering a five-minute prepared speech.
In answering the impromptu questions, Joel identified the major points of each question and stuck rigidly to the topic.
In his prepared speech, he identified the reasons for the supposed apathy that young people have in dealing with social and political issues and how this has clearly been created by the media and our two party political system.
Winner of the public speaking was Jessie Gentle from Woolgoolga High School who gave an amusing, yet accurate assessment of why NSW has not been successful in her lifetime in the State of Origin series.
Other candidates represented Lions clubs from Nambucca Heads, Tamworth, Bundarra and Wee Waa.
Joel will continue in the quest as a State finalist, competing against students representing the other four NSW Lions districts.
Nambucca Heads Lions Club will host the State final on April 12 and a contingent of members will travel to support Joel in this, the pointy end of the quest.
A spokesman for Taree Lions Club said the club is proud to be represented in the State final by a candidate who exhibits such high qualities in academic and cultural achievements.
Joel is yet to decide the direction for his future after completing the HSC but has the desire to enrol in a fine arts degree and then his ultimate dream would be to work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Joel's dad, Rod has provided family support throughout the quest, being there every step of the way.