TWENTY-FOUR students took part in the local heat of this year’s Youth Speaks competition organised by Henley Rotary Club.
Teams of three from Gillotts School, The Henley College, Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common and Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning showed off their public speaking skills at the Kenton Theatre on Tuesday last week.
The subjects of the debates included changes to the English language, dieting and tea.
Each team had three members — a main speaker, chairperson and one who gave the vote of thanks.
The main speaker had to use six minutes of the 10 minutes allocated for the presentation with the other two having two minutes each. The Reading Blue Coat School A team of James Steers, Jules Aplin and Luke Douglas won the Henley Rotary Club Cup for the best team in the intermediate group (aged 11-13).
Luke also received the Gabrielle Derbyshire Cup for the best speaker.
The team, who were tutored by Lisa Bennett, chose tea as their subject.
The Henley College A team of Hammod Munir, Amy Thomson and Jashan Johal won the Rotary Shield for the best team in the senior category (aged 14-17).
Jashan also received the Irene Tapp Challenge Cup for best speaker. The team, who were tutored by Shirley Jenkins-Pandya, spoke on the subject of “Modern technology: kill or cure?”
Jashan, 18, from Maidenhead, was delighted to win, saying: “I still can’t believe it.
“So many elements go into public speaking — pace, tone and pitch — and I wanted to make sure when I delivered it was just as effective as when I had written it.”
The John Luker Cup for the best overall vote of thanks went to Jesse Pajwani, of the Reading Blue Coat School A team.
Team-mate Tom Door was awarded the David Walden Cup for best overall chairperson.
The adjudicators were Rotarian Ken Fitt, a former headteacher of Chiltern Edge, who has judged the competition for more than 15 years, Nansi Diamond and Tony Searby.
The timekeepers were Rotarians Sam Lamden, David Tapp and Robin Sherry.
Henley Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak presented the prizes.
President Roger Sayer thanked all the teams and the children’s parents and schools for their support as well as the event sponsors who include the Michael Shanly Trust, Westcoast, Brakspear, Hobbs of Henley and Higgs Group, publishers of the Henley Standard.
The two winning teams will compete in the next round at Christ Church in Marlow on February 6.
For more pictures, visit www.henleystandard.co.uk