Public Speaking - District Finals

Rotary Club "Youth Speaks" District Finals

Date published: Fri 16 Mar 2018   Author: HLH/ADF   Category: News   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email


March has been a busy month for TBSHS public speakers, with both Intermediate (Year 9) and Senior (Sixth Form) teams appearing in their respective District Finals in the splendour of the Essex County Council chamber in Chelmsford.

First to enter the fray was our Year 9 team, all new to this quite daunting venue. Drawn to speak third against six other teams from all over Essex, they gave a very good account of themselves, speaking entirely without notes on their chosen topic “The Magic of Music”. Chairman Finn Lihoreau was warm and welcoming, introducing his colleagues with a series of well-delivered puns and generally running the whole presentation exactly as it should be done. Elliot Wood’s main speech was a tour de force, delivered with real passion and a good use of gesture. He covered the benefits of music in relieving stress (“as good as chocolate, but better for the waistline”!) and its importance in triggering memories, especially for Alzheimer’s patients and went on to give examples of the ways in which music can be used to aid learning in all subjects. He also gave a very good answer to a searching question about the use of sexist and other inappropriate language in some styles of music. Finn Aylott then gave a confident, well-structured vote of thanks, in which he rightly complimented Elliot and explained to the audience what he had learned from the speech. The team members worked very well together, paying each other close attention and their only fault was a tendency, at times, to talk a little too fast in such a big room. All in all, though this was a very accomplished performance. The overall quality of speeches was very high, but general opinion while we waited for the judges’ verdict was that TBSHS was very much in the running, alongside a lively Year 7 team from Westcliff and a very polished one from Colchester. In the end, however, the judges gave the victory to a team from Brentwood School, the previous year’s winners. Our team did have the consolation of knowing that they had not let their coach Ms Davies down and Finn Lihoreau won the prize for the best chairman of the night.







A week later, it was the turn of our Sixth Form team in the Senior competition. Mindful of the football pundits’ observation that winning a title is hard, but retaining it is harder still, the team had practised long and hard for this event with their topic “Do We Have To Vote?”. Veteran campaigner Jack Boulter, in his third District Final, got the team off to an excellent start as Chairman. Speaking authoritatively and very clearly, he created a receptive atmosphere as he introduced his colleagues with some well-judged humorous remarks. Main speaker Millie Mitchell then delivered an extremely persuasive speech in favour of compulsory voting, making good use of gesture and vocal variation. Excellent references to voting statistics were used to support her contention that compulsion would hugely increase the legitimacy of elected politicians and she also argued that voting is a civil duty, just like paying your taxes. The depth of Millie’s research was reflected in the detailed answer that she gave to gave to a question about suitable sanctions for non-voters. Max Hadley, in his first appearance at this level, gave a well-rounded Vote of Thanks, remarking on several important points in Millie’s speech and even managing to quote Spiderman. Apart from one omission near the end, he managed to fulfil all the requirements of his role very well. It was agreed by all present that the overall standard of competition was even better than in the equivalent event last year, with some very assured and stylish speakers on view. Eventually the judges announced that TBSHS had retained the cup and also named Millie as best speaker (probably because her speech demonstrated a scope and depth unmatched by any of her rivals). The team now progresses to the Regional Final at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, in April.








Former teacher Mr Tony Fraser commented, “I think that this is the first time that TBSHS has won District Finals in two consecutive years. Both of our teams did themselves and the school proud. Our students were excellent ambassadors for the school and were very well supported by their families and friends. Many thanks and congratulations to all concerned.”