High School Students are Public Speaking Experts

TBSHS Team Win the Rotary Club Senior Youth Speaks Competition

Date published: Fri 3 Mar 2017   Author: HLH/ADF   Category: News   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email


TBSHS Sixth Formers Oliver Hougham (Chairman), Jack Boulter (Main Speaker) and Millie Mitchell (Vote of Thanks) have won the District Final of the Rotary Club’s senior “Youth Speaks” competition. Addressing the question "Have We Really Had Enough of Experts?", they beat teams from all over Essex and now go on to the Eastern Region Senior Final at Ipswich in March. The school last reached this stage of the competition in 1998 and only one other Stortford team has done so since then.

District Finals are always held in the Essex County Council Chamber, a very daunting arena. Being drawn to speak second out of eight teams was not ideal, especially as the opening team were pretty uninspiring. Undeterred, Ollie grabbed the audience’s attention, exuding warmth and real authority as he introduced his team mates and their theme for the night with some informative and humorous remarks. Jack followed this with an extremely well structured speech, praised by the judges for the way that it took his listeners on a journey through the topic. He made very good use of his voice, varying the power and pace effectively and dealt confidently with a question from the audience, usually the most difficult part of his role. Millie was the only member of the team who had not previously appeared in “Youth Speaks” but this was not at all evident in her beautifully delivered vote of thanks that fulfilled her role perfectly, linking back to Jack’s speech and inviting the audience to congratulate him on its quality.

   Parents Supporters Club  - Youth Speaks Final 2017

Colchester Royal Grammar School and Brentwood School both featured excellent speakers, but I felt that TBSHS produced the best team performance of the night. For once the adjudicators agreed with me and we were declared the winners with Millie also taking the “Best Vote of Thanks” award. If there had been a prize for best supported team, I think we would have won that too. Many thanks are due to the parents, students Brad Gosnell & Tiegan Meadows and Bishop’s Stortford Rotarians who came to cheer us on and congratulations again to our victorious team.




Team Photo shows (left to right) Millie, Jack, Oliver