Young Zamboangueña Arizza Nocum is PH rep to London speaking competition PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 February 2014 09:21

It’s another feather in the cap for Zamboanga City as the eldest daughter of Manila-based Zamboangueño couple, Armand and Ann Sahi-Nocum, will represent the Philippines in in the English-Speaking Union (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) 2014 in London. 19-years old Arizza Sahi Nocum bested 100 top local speakers to earn the chance to represent our country in a public speaking competition that brings together the best youth speakers from 50 countries all over the world.

The competition will take place in May 2014 with the topic "Imagination is More Important than Knowledge". Set up in the US in 1920, ESU began the international public speaking competition to advance its mission to celebrate “English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing education and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.”

Arizza is a 3rd year Industrial Engineering student scholar at UP-Diliman. She said after the competition, “I feel deeply honored by this opportunity to represent our country in a prestigious world public speaking competition.”

The series of local speakers’ contests that culminated in the local final competition held on Saturday, February 15, at the UP Diliman campus was so tough that in the end, she had to dig deep into her on experiences as a speaker on Mindanao, literacy, poverty and other issues espoused by Kris Library. Since she was 7 years old, she has been part of Krislam Peace Library, an advocacy center that espouses reading and education as one way to attain peace. Today, she is the administrator of Krislam.

“I’ve been going up the stage to preach the importance of books and reading to my fellow youth since 2001 when my mixed-Christian and Muslim parents started the advocacy to build libraries, distribute books; and provide scholarship to poor Christian and Muslim kids,” said Nocum. “Those years in public speaking may have steeled my nerves when facing a big audience.”

“It was not easy to make a choice of one to represent ESU-Philippines and the country at the IPSC in May,” said Maria Luz Vilches, Dean of the School of Humanities of Ateneo de Manila University, where the last leg of the contest was held. “So, the choice was Arizza Ann S. Nocum.  Arizza is from Zamboanga and finished secondary education at the Philippine Science High School, the same school where Gian Dapul (our IPSC winner in 2008) graduated from,” Vilches, also ESU Philippines president, said in an email message to Nocum.

Nocum will undergo training to fine-tune her speech and practice delivery with the help of Yuson; Jose Dalisay Jr., award-winning writer; Gemino Abad, poet and critic; and Hall of Fame winner Edgardo Maranan, poet, playwright and essayist.

The local contest’s sponsors include Ed Chua and Shell Philippines, which will finance Nocum’s air fare to London; Nick Thomas and the British Council; and Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) London.

Last February 14, Arizza’s younger sister, 13-years old golfer Ashia Nocum, won a slot to compete in the forthcoming prestigious 2014 ICTSI Ladies Philippine Golf.  Ashia will be the youngest golfer and will compete against more experienced and older lady golfers from all over Asia in April 2014.

This week is indeed a back-to-back honor for Zamboanga City. Thanks and congrats to the Nocum sisters!

By Dante Corteza

Ecclesiastes 11:9. “Rejoice in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes….”