Billingshurst, February 6 2017: Teams of the best young public speakers from five schools in the area spoke for their supper on Saturday afternoon in Billingshurst at the Rotary District 1145 Intermediate Southern Semi Final of Youth Speaks 2017 Competition.
The winner, Great Walstead School, will now go through to the district final in Effingham on Saturday March 18. Others competing in the Semi Final were: The Weald Community School, Billingshurst; Midhurst Rother College; Burgess Hill Girls; and Bohunt School, Worthing.
Organised and promoted by Rotary International and its Billingshurst club, the contest has four stages and is designed to support and encourage the development of effective communication skills among young people at both intermediate level age 11 to 13 years and senior level age 14 to17 years.
Chairman of the judges, Mr Gary Shipton, is Editor and Editor in Chief of this newspaper. He said, “The standard was exceptional and every one of the contestants should be proud of their performance.”
The competition aims to offer young people a number of opportunities - experience of speaking on a public platform as a member of a team; an incentive to formulate ideas on topical subjects; discipline in dealing with a topic in a limited time; the opportunity of learning and practising high standards of expression, presentation and appearance; and impartial feedback and assessment by experienced adjudicators.
In addition to Mr. Shipton, his colleagues on the judging panel were Lucy Pitts, Sussex-based ex-barrister, writer and public speaking coach; and Martin Spurrier, Chair of the Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of Edelman in Hong Kong, the world’s leading PR firm.
Mr Spurrier said: “Public speaking is an invaluable life skill yet it was dreaded by many famous people including Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Bruce Willis, Tiger Woods, Julia Roberts, Rowan Atkinson and Mahatma Gandhi. Our local young people have every reason to be proud”.
The competition is open to teams of three. Each team member takes on a role to chair, speak or give the vote of thanks. Each team member is allocated a time in which to perform their role and are judges separately and as a team.
Judges award points based on the Chairperson’s management of the meeting, the Speaker’s ability to present and develop a topic and ability to answer the question, and the quality and courtesy of the vote of thanks. There are additional points for team work.
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