Saturday, 13 August 2022

School takes the honours in public speaking contest

READING Blue Coat School almost achieved a clean sweep in the local heat of the annual Youth Speaks

READING Blue Coat School almost achieved a clean sweep in the local heat of the annual Youth Speaks competition.

The Sonning school won all but one of the awards at the public speaking contest against Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, which was held at the Kenton Theatre in Henley.

Each school had senior and intermediate teams, each with three members — a main speaker, a chairman and one who gave the vote of thanks.

Each team had 10 minutes in which to give a presentation on a subject of their choice, which included etiquette, fair play for children, the death penalty, outer space and the European Union.

Reading Blue Coat’s two B teams won the senior and intermediate groups, receiving the Rotary Shield and the Henley Rotary Club Cup respectively.

The three 12-year-old members of the intermediate B team won individual awards.

William Peters was voted best speaker in the group and was awarded the Gabrielle Derbyshire Cup while Miles Edwards won the John Luker Cup for the best overall vote of thanks and Ted Aplin won the David Walden Cup for best overall chairperson.

Isobel Lusted, from Chiltern Edge, won the Irene Tapp Challenge Cup for the best speaker in the senior group. Lisa Bennett, Reading Blue Coat’s public speaking coach, said: “There is a strong and well-supported tradition of public speaking at the school and taking part in the Youth Speaks competition is an event that we actively look forward to each year.

“I am delighted with the success of our students and look forward to round two.”

Ted said: “When you compete as part of a team, in addition to your nerves, there is extra pressure as you don’t want to be the weakest link in the team. We were all relieved that we didn’t let each other down and so chuffed to win.”

The competition is organised by Henley Rotary Club and the judges were Rotarian Ken Fitt, Nansi Diamond and Tony Searby and the timekeepers were Rotarians Sam Lamden, Barry Prior and Robin Sherry. Henley Mayor Lorraine Hillier presented the trophies.

Master of ceremonies Mark Harling, the club’s new generation committee chairman, said: “All the youngsters put in a sterling effort and did their schools proud.

“Youth Speaks gives young people confidence to stand up in front of a group of people and talk. The standard is incredibly high and last year The Henley College got through to the national final.”

The Mayor said: “The speakers were of such a high standard and the speeches were all interesting.

“This gives the young people confidence that will help carry them through life.”

The next round of the competition will be held at Liston Hall in Marlow on January 28.

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