Pupils speak out in annual Rotary competition

The annual Rotary Youth Speaks competition was hosted by The Weald School, Billingshurst
The annual Rotary Youth Speaks competition was hosted by The Weald School, Billingshurst

‘YOUTH on the Streets’ and Deforestation: Should it continue?’ were among the topics at the annual ‘Rotary Youth Speaks’ competition hosted by The Weald School, Billingshurst, on January 26.

Members of the sponsoring local Rotary Club and special guests turned out to watch five teams of sharp speakers from year 8 inform, argue and persuade their way through the competition.

Diverse topics as diverse were presented to a panel of judges consisting of current Weald headteacher, Mr Peter Woodman, the school’s previous head of sixth form, Mr Dave Giddens, and former Weald headteacher and Rotarian, Mr Geoff Lawes.

Top awards of the afternoon went to Francesca Froughi for best chairperson, Max Day and Chloe Norgate for best vote of thanks and Jack Cox for best speaker.

The winning team consisted of Laura Travers as the Chairperson, Molly Smith as the Speaker and Francesca Mason as the Vote of Thanks.

The skilled and enthusiastic group of girls won over judges and audience alike with a heartfelt and humorous speech entitled ‘Risking Your Life Under the Knife’.

All 15 participants enjoyed a series of workshops in lessons and with invited guests prior to the final competition.

“The whole experience has been so exciting,” said Eleanor Goodier, one of the competitors.

“We’ve learnt new ways to improve our writing as well as our public speaking. Learning from experts and A level students was really fun.”

The winning students now have a fortnight to prepare for the district competition in Cranleigh, where they will pit their verbal wits with competitors from other local schools in a bid to represent the area in the regional competition.

They hope to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winning team from the Weald, who won the trophy for best Vote of Thanks at the district competition and the 2010 team, who won through to the regional finals and collected awards for Best Speaker and Best Vote of Thanks along the way.

This year’s team of rhetorical raconteurs say they are hoping to make it all the way to the RIBI Final in May 2012.