Young public speakers praised in competition

The winners and runners-up with the adjudicators at the rostrum

The winners and runners-up with the adjudicators at the rostrum

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TEENAGERS impressed at a public speaking competition after covering a diverse range of topics.

Among winners in the district semi-final of Rotary Youth Speaks was Upper Beeding student Becky Loveless, who received a prize for the best vote of thanks.

Shoreham and Southwick Rotary Club hosted the competition, for students aged 13 to 16, at Shoreham Academy last week.

Six teams from across the district competed for a place in the regional final, adjudicated by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne and Herald & Gazette head of news Sam Woodman.

Topics covered ranged from a look at the power of music and how it can be used to aid concentration and help offenders to an argument that the current exam system in schools was a hindrance to students’ education, with the issues outweighing benefits.

Announcing the results, Mr Loughton congratulated the young people and said they had set a very high standard, which had made judging difficult.

He gave some useful hints and tips on public speaking, like ‘keep on the move, pace around a bit’, ‘smile as much as the subject allows’, and ‘use good humour’.

The teams of three had to follow a set format, with the chairman introducing the speaker, followed by a vote of thanks.

Rotarian Les Baker said: “The six teams in turn gave their presentation and covered subjects as diverse as Crime and Punishment, and Feminism – What’s it All About.

“During the interval, we enjoyed refreshments provided by the academy, with their own Rotary Interact Club members working hard.”

Winner The Imberhorne School, East Grinstead, and runner-up Worth School, Turners Hill, go through to the district final in March.

Individual prizes, presented by Rotary district governor Doug Price, went to Jonathan Kemp from Worth for best chair person, Niamh Herrett from Imberhorne School for best speaker, and Becky Loveless from The Towers Convent School for best vote of thanks.

Also taking part were Oathall Community College in Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill School for Girls and St Philip Howard Catholic High School, Barnham.

Each competitor was presented with a certificate by Mr Price and thanked for taking part.