I love organising the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition every year because it allows our young people to shine.
This year Trevelyan Middle School & St Edward’s Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School fought for the Intermediate prize and Windsor Girls fought for the Senior prize amongst themselves in the prestigious Jafar Hall at Eton College. What a story to tell at dinner parties in years to come.
Teachers are very busy people with lots of demands on their time so they need to have a real passion for Youth Speaks to give it the time and commitment required. Thankfully, this year the new English teacher at Windsor Boys came and watched the competition and said she would bring boys teams next year… hurrah, they are engaging again… would love to see Dedworth Middle School join in if anyone reading this has any influence?
The topics for this year’s debate were:
All the students gave an amazing account of themselves, sharing their thoughts on their chosen topics with passion and belief normally only seen on TV when a CEO is fighting their corner.
Richard Allen of the Green Room led our Intermediate judges and gave each team a clear summary of their performance, enthusing all to keep debating. The Intermediate winners spoke on “Money can’t buy happiness” with George Burden as Chair, Fiona Winters Proposing the topic and Anushka Sagar Opposing. Edward Shekiluwa, chair of the other team, won the Best Speaker prize with his very engaging performance using his god given smile to light up the room.
David Knowles-Leak chaired the senior judges and underlined the importance of taking part being character building and that all local schools should join in. The younger team from Windsor Girls won again this year on the topic of “Mobile phones have a positive impact on today’s society”. Chaired by Olatz Bulson-Roman, Proposed by Scarlett O’Shaughnessy and Opposed by Lydia Sampson we all turned our phones to silent mode so we hear the debate ;) Scarlett won Best Speaker and so walked away with oodles of Amazon vouchers so she can buy more books, videos and mobile apps!
Because of circumstance, 2 teams from each category are going forward to the next round to be held in February where they will be competing against teams from Ascot, with the winners going through to the District Finals in March in Marlow.
As Chair of the Youth Committee I am exploring an idea of how I can take the energy from this competition and bottling it for the wider community to help young people find their voice.
Chair of Youth Committee
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