On Monday 15th January, three of our students – Rhiannon, Madison and Mckenzie – took part in the Public Speaking Competition at St Edward’s School, Cheltenham, hosted by the English Speaking Union.
Madison had to write her own speech on a topic of her choice (‘Why do we allow the government to decide what schools should teach?”) and present it to an audience and judges. The speech had to last 5 minutes, something she had prepared intensively for. She said “I definitely felt a bit nervous at first due to the sheer size of the audience, but I felt confident after the first segment and didn’t have to rely on my cue cards heavily at all.” One of the points she made during her speech was regarding the importance of core life skills and why students should be taught them, such as pensions and mortgages, as they’re not prepared for any of those things during school. After an impeccable speech, Madison received the award for Best Speaker.
Over to Mckenzie and Rhiannon, who were teamed together with a third person and involved in a debate regarding whether we should be early birds or night owls. Mckenzie pitched various questions to the speaker which she had prepared, covering topics such as Biphasic sleep patterns and how can they be used to benefit our productivity, would they be effective? Rhiannon meanwhile was the Chair of the debate, whose role it was to introduce the speaker, summarise the debate and lead audience questions. Rhiannon said “I found the judges could be quite intimidating as they barely said a word, they just kept making notes and didn’t once look back up. They didn’t even laugh at my jokes!”
Unfortunately, despite the three coming a close third place, after beating three other teams, Rhiannon, Madison and Mckenzie didn’t make it through to the next phase of the competition. Mr Johnston and Mrs Hemsley, who have been preparing the team and took them to the event, said “Whilst it’s unfortunate that they didn’t make it through, they absolutely represented the school superbly.”
Mr Burton congratulated the three, commenting: “It was really lovely to hear about this and I’ve no doubt this has peaked your interests further into more public speaking in the future. Really, very well done to you girls.”
Speaking about their future aspirations and whether this competition has intruiged them about any further public speaking roles, Madison said that whilst her goal is to become a veterinarian, the experience and her award hasn’t closed off the door for any potential public speaking opportunities in the future. Rhiannon very proudly wants to go into theatre, where public speaking plays a big part, so the experience has definitely helped her. Whilst Mckenzie isn’t fully decided on her future goals, she said she really enjoyed the competition and debates and certainly wouldn’t rule it out again.