School Team maintains a High Standard of Speaking

Years 8, 9 and Senior Teams enter Local 'Youth Speaks' Competition

Date published: Mon 2 Dec 2019   Author: HLH/ADF   Category: News   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email



Although  Rotary International no longer runs a public speaking competition at district or regional level, the Bishop’s Stortford Club still put on a local “Youth Speaks” contest this term and, as always, TBSHS teams produced a strong showing. Unfortunately, several schools were unable to field any teams, so the Intermediate (Years 7 to 9) and Senior (Year 10 & above) sections were combined into a single night’s entertainment.

Two members of our Year 9 team had been victorious last year, so their coach Mr Patterson had high hopes of a repeat success. Opening proceedings, Chairman Daniel Connor gave his customary confident performance, introducing his team mates and the topic with wry humour and expert timing. Main speaker Tom Gee, the team’s debutant, had chosen to consider “Why Can’t Teenagers Be Allowed To Be Teenagers?”. Over the years, there have been many speeches about teenagers and stereotypes, but Tom’s approach was totally original. Rather than trying to convince the audience that teenagers are good but misunderstood, he proclaimed himself to be smelly, slovenly and awkward, but argued that this was a developmental stage that he and all teenagers should be allowed to grow out of in their own time. Oliver Worthy began by making out that, by contrast, he was a perfectly behaved young man, before messing up his carefully combed hair, throwing away the flower in his buttonhole and delivering a lively, well-constructed Vote of Thanks that completed a very strong team performance.


Completely new to inter-school competition were the TBSHS Year 8 representatives, with the intriguing presentation title of “Encore”. Ravi Jethwa, an extremely cheerful Chairman, revealed that this was just the first of a number of awful puns, as the team were going to talk about apples. Introducing the main speaker as “Isaac Newton, sorry Isaac Reeve”, he got the team off to an engaging start. Isaac had researched very thoroughly and, although slightly hesitant to start with, he grew in confidence as he delivered a very well organised and entertaining speech that covered a wide range of apple-related topics. In addition, he dealt skilfully with a question from the audience. Completing the team, Henry Aylett also overcame early nerves to present a thoughtful, well-ordered Vote of Thanks that fulfilled his role perfectly. The team, who worked very well together, had clearly taken note of all the good advice given by Miss Davies.


In the Senior section each participating school entered only one team, with a trio of Sixth Formers representing TBSHS. As befits a Head Girl Ruby Owen, chairing the presentation, displayed a calm and welcoming authority that put everyone at ease, introducing the team and their subject “Cecil Rhodes – Saint or Sinner?” with plenty of vocal variety and natural gestures. Main speaker James Gor, described as the school’s “answer to Brian Blessed”, was appearing in Youth Speaks for the sixth successive year. He produced a well-balanced speech, with a lot of interesting content that covered all aspects of his subject’s life, and needed barely a glance at his notes. Leaving the audience to decide which category they felt Rhodes fell into, he gave an accomplished answer to a question about judging figures from the past by current standards. Unlike James, Nathaniel Carn , proposing the Vote of Thanks, was making his competitive debut. Nevertheless, he gave a very assured performance, being praised by the judges for showing “a great voice and just the right pacing”. I was particularly impressed by the way that he was able to include an unprepared comment about the audience question.

And so to the results. In the Intermediates, Daniel, Tom and Oliver’s confident, lively style and excellent interaction as a team took them to a well-deserved first place, ahead of a team from Bishop’s Stortford College who had a very impressive speaker. I would have placed our Year 8 team a close third, a very promising result in their first competition. In the Senior section the College’s extremely confident team gained the victory and I suspect that TBSHS were second.

All our speakers deserve congratulations for the hard work that they put into preparing their speeches and their exemplary demeanour on the night. Thanks also go to their coaches, their families and Mr Reeve for their support.