NARACOORTE High School's Alex Ghezzi impressed with his public speaking skills at the 32nd annual Lions Youth of the Year quest on Monday evening.
The 17-year-old took out the top spot and will now go on to compete in the regional finals at Kalangadoo on March 15.
Judges Sue Waite, Judy Stafford and Emily Lindsay met with Alex and the four other well presented candidates - Georgia Grant, James Wilson, Mario Palma and Matt Smith - during the day to assess them on a number of qualities.
These were leadership, sport and cultural activities, citizenship and community involvement, personality, general knowledge and academic achievements.
Then in the evening the students faced members of the Naracoorte Lions Club, their parents and some of their teachers at a dinner meeting where they displayed their public speaking skills.
They were asked to respond to two impromptu questions and speak for two minutes each.
The topics this year were: "What effect has immigration had on the Naracoorte community?" and "What effect will shrinking manufacturing have on the future of Australia?"
This was the most difficult part of the night but all did well with the task.
Next each participant gave a prepared speech on a topic of their own choice.
Georgia Grant spoke on the youth of today, especially those who break the stereotypical mould.
She gave specific examples of Naracoorte High School students who have done some exceptional things that have had positive effects on the community and themselves.
James Wilson spoke about why smarter farming was necessary to prevent world hunger.
He gave examples of the ways technology could be used to save farmers' time and increase production, while at the same time help the environment.
Alex Ghezzi spoke on Government influence on the educational system.
He gave a clear explanation of the Gonski report and how its implementation could potentially benefit Naracoorte High School's education programs.
Mario Palma spoke on how globalisation was detrimental to Australia.
He gave examples of negative effects on the environment and the economy.
Lastly, Matt Smith spoke on sledging in cricket.
He specifically referred to the recent test series against England.
He felt that sledging was part of the game and if players learned to deal with it, and had the right mindset, it should not affect their game.
All students' speeches were entertaining and informative, making the decision on who should win difficult for the judges.
Naracoorte Lions Club members congratulated all five teenagers on their efforts and achievements, and wished Alex well as he goes onto the next stage of the competition.
They also thanked the National Australia Bank for their sponsorship, the three judges for their time and expertise, and the high school staff, especially Gemma Files, for preparing the students for the quest.