Thursday, 23 September 2021

Politics to reality TV, youngsters have their say

NINE students went home with prizes in the local heat of Rotary Club’s Youth Speaks competition.

NINE students went home with prizes in the local heat of Rotary Club’s Youth Speaks competition.

Thirty-three pupils from five schools entered the public speaking contest, which was held at the Kenton Theatre in Henley on Monday.

There were four teams from Reading Blue Coat School, three from Chiltern Edge School, two from The Henley College and one from Gillotts School.

The St Lawrence Saints, from Waltham St Lawrence, also took part.

Each team, made up of three students, had 10 minutes to give a presentation they had prepared in advance.

Topics ranged from politics and sexuality to “geek” culture and reality television.

The Henley Rotary Club Cup for best intermediate team (ages 11 to 13) went to the Reading Blue Coat B Team, consisting of Matthew Roberts, Timothy Forrer and Elliot Morris, all 14.

Their speech was called “Get Your Geek On”. Timothy also won the Gabrielle Derbyshire Cup for best intermediate speaker.

The Rotary Shield for the best senior team (ages 14 to 17) went to the Henley College B Team, who gave a speech called “Party Or Country”.

The team was made up of Louisa Carlisle, Jake Smith and Mattieu Gougeon, all 17. Louisa also won the David Walden Cup for best chairperson.

The Irene Tapp Challenge Cup for best senior speaker was shared between Sophie Walker, 15, from Chiltern Edge B, and Grace Plant, 17, from Reading Blue Coat A.

Oliver Breen, 14, from Chiltern Edge A, took home the John Luker cup for best vote of thanks.

Mr Luker, who is life president of the Standard’s publisher Higgs Group and a past Rotary president, compered on the night.

The two winning teams will go on to compete in the zone finals in Marlow on February 7.

Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin, who handed out the prizes, said: “It was very encouraging to see so many young people have the confidence to stand up and speak in front of a large audience.

“They all spoke from the heart and I wish them the best of luck for the next round. I’m sure they will do extremely well.”

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