LEICESTER, Mass. - For Leicester High senior Renee Comeau, "the power of one" helped her make it through three levels of competition in the recent Lions Club speech contest.
Open to high school students, the Lion's annual competition starts at the school level and proceeds through several more stages of competition.
This year, student speeches explored the topic, "What Is The Power of 'Just One'?"
While some students focused on one experience or person, Comeau said she took a more abstract approach to the topic.
"I started off by saying, let's take a moment to rewind a little bit. Let us go back to elementary school days when the teacher would stress the importance of unit measures," said Comeau. "Without unit measures, our numbers would be considered meaningless."
From this, Comeau discussed how people and things are labeled, and how they are interpreted by others.
"The whole idea of my speech was to provoke thought," she said.
Whether it be a serving size which people can choose to abide by or not, or an influential person like the Rev. Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa, Comeau said the power of one is "whatever you make it."
From an initial round at Leicester High School, Comeau's speech was selected from 14 others to go on to zone competition at the Leicester Senior Center.
After going up against five other students from surrounding towns, she then made it to the next round at Anna Maria College.
While Comeau's background in theater helped give her confidence in front of an audience, she said delivering the speech was a different experience.
"I'm in drama, and do plays, so being up in front of people is second nature to me," said Comeau. "But it wasn't so much like playing a role, because I got to write what I was saying. I got to have conviction and believe in everything I said because I wrote it."
A performer at heart, Comeau said she thrives in the spotlight in the same way athletes revel in a moment of glory on the field.
"Sports players play for that feeling, that ambition that they have. I don't have competitive drive in an athletic sense, but the amount of adrenaline in the feeling when everyone's clapping and the lights are on me, and I get to perform or give my speech - that is exhilarating, without a doubt," she said.