High School Speakers Keep the Cup

District Finals of Youth Speaks Competition

Date published: Tue 5 Mar 2019   Author: HLH/ADF   Category: News   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email

Two teams representing the school in the Rotary “Youth Speaks” competition have maintained our good record in their respective District Finals in the Essex County Council Chamber. TBSHS Sixth Formers had won the Senior competition in 2017 & 2018, so could our Year 10 team, coached by Miss Davies, make it a hat trick?

Speaking fourth of the five teams, chairman Finn Lihoreau gave an assured and amusing performance, introducing his team mates and the topic “How to Spot A Feminist”. Finn explained that feminism is not a new phenomenon and revealed that the team members are qualified to speak about it, as they have all grown up with sisters. Main speaker Elliot Wood spoke with evident passion, making excellent use of gesture and some good variations of pace and pitch in his voice. Drawing attention to the gender pay gap and the number of girls in the world who are still denied an education, he argued that such inequalities can be corrected if we all become feminists. His speech was followed by a comprehensive, well expressed vote of thanks from Finn Aylott, who referred to the impact that Elliot’s statistics had made on him. Finn also drew the attention of his listeners to the quality of Elliot’s off-the-cuff answer to a question from the audience. This completed an excellent all-round team performance, but it was clear that it was a very close contest between our team and at least two of its rivals.

This must have been the case as the judges took a long time to decide on TBSHS as the winners, with Elliot being awarded the prize for Best Speaker and Finn Aylott winning Best VOT. The victory was made even sweeter by the organisers’ announcement that as this was the last District Final (Rotary has decided to replace Youth Speaks by a debating competition), we would be allowed to keep the trophy.


The previous week, in the Intermediate section (for students in Year 9 and below), the TBSHS Year 8 team, all in their first year of inter-school public speaking, gave a very entertaining performance with their presentation “Put Your Hands Together”. Chairman Daniel Connor introduced the team and their topic with great confidence and good humour, referring to the decision by some universities to ban applause for visiting speakers because some students find loud noises oppressive. Despite revealing a few signs of nerves, main speaker Joe Lee showed a real grasp of his subject, describing several different styles of clapping and explaining why he thought that the universities’ ban was not a good idea. He managed to include greater vocal variety than in the first round and maintained good eye contact with the audience, only needing to glimpse surreptitiously at his notes a couple of times. Oliver Worthy gave an assured, lively and well-paced Vote of Thanks in which he performed all the required functions of his role and carried out some very well synchronised clapping with Daniel.


Six other teams representing schools from all over Essex took part and the general consensus that the TBSHS presentation was the most entertaining. The judges gave first place to Colchester Royal Grammar School (correctly, in my opinion), but Daniel was awarded the prize for Best Chairman and we also found out that our team had gained the highest mark for teamwork. Congratulations to all three students and their mentor, Mr Patterson.

Thanks are also due to Rotary for organising the competition and to all the family members who came along to support our teams.

A.D. Fraser