Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Honours shared at public speaking contest

TWELVE students took part in the local heat of this year’s Youth Speaks competition, organised by Henley Rotary Club.

TWELVE students took part in the local heat of this year’s Youth Speaks competition, organised by Henley Rotary Club.

Two teams from both The Henley College and Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning showed off their public speaking skills at the Christ Church Centre.

The subjects of the debates included the teaching of languages at school, football and keys.

Each team had three members — a main speaker, a chairman and one who gave the vote of thanks. The main speaker uses six minutes of the 10 minutes allocated for the presentation, leaving the other two team members two minutes each.

The Reading Blue Coat School B team of Matthew Peters (speaker), Barnaby Frowen (chairman) and Harry Cotten won the Henley Rotary Club Cup for the best team in the intermediate group (aged 11 to 13). The team, who were tutored by Lisa Bennett, chose “The Beautiful Game (football)” as their subject.

The Henley College A team of Sophie Young (speaker), Tom Correy (chairman) and Guillaume Gougeon won the Rotary Shield for the best team in the senior category (aged 14 to17).

The team, who were tutored by Shirley Jenkins-Pandya, gave a presentation on language in schools called “C’est la vie”.

Guillaume, 16, of New Street, Henley, received the John Luker Cup for the best overall vote of thanks. Sophie, 17, from Emmer Green, received the Irene Tapp Challenge Cup for best speaker. She said: “I was arguing that we are teaching people languages too late and are being overtaken by other countries.”

Guillaume said: “I think it went well and I enjoyed it.”

Matthew Peters, 14, of the Reading Blue Coat School B intermediate team, which also comprised Barnaby Frowen and Harry Cotton, won the Gabrielle Derbyshire Cup for best speaker in their category.

Joseph Bright, of the defeated Reading Blue Coat School A (senior) team, received the David Walden Cup for the best overall chairman.

The judges were Rotarian Ken Fitt, Nansi Diamond and Tony Searby and the timekeepers were Rotarians Sam Lamden, Lionel Scott and Robin Sherry. Mr Fitt told the speakers: “Ladies and gentlemen, you do have a lot of intelligence and good common sense.

“You young people might see this as an end of something but think of it as the beginning of something. Who knows? You could go on and become politicians and actually behave yourselves properly at Prime Minister’s Questions.”

He then called for a round of applause for the teachers and parents present as well as the competitors.

The prizes were presented by Henley Deputy Mayor Jeni Wood.

Rotary club president Barry Prior said: “We have had a treat tonight and everyone has been entertained and impressed.”

The event is sponsored by the Higgs Group, publishers of the Henley Standard, Alan Pontin, Walden, the Michael Shanly Trust, S W Sapcote, Westcoat, Brakspear, the Red Lion Hotel, Hobbs of Henley and the Scouller Trust.

On Tuesday, The Henley College team won the zone final held at the Christ Church Centre in Marlow, staged by Marlow Rotary Club.

They beat teams from Sandhurst School and St Mary’s School, Gerrards Cross, and were praised by chief judge Jacqui Hogan for the way they interacted as a team.

They will now take part in the district final in Marlow on Thursday, February 26.

The Blue Coat School gave a good account of themselves but were beaten by Thorpe House School in Gerrards Cross.

Two members of Henley Rotary Club attended to support their teams, together with Mr Searby.

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