York Schoolgirls Win Public Speaking Competition
4:12pm 18th March 2013
A York school has won a place in the finals of a national competition to encourage public speaking skills for the young.
The Mount School York won the East of England Finals of the Rotary Youth Speaks public speaking competition in Kettering on Saturday 16 March, taking a place in the national finals in Hull next month, despite the fact that two team members were battling illness.
Holly Gardiner, Alice Grierson and Lily Howells spoke about the legalisation of squatting, a topic of study covered through their PeaceJam work. Last year The Mount became the first school in England to adopt into the curriculum the international PeaceJam Foundation's Ambassadors Programme which is designed by the Nobel Peace Laureates.
The girls faced stiff competition from five other schools, taking the only berth on offer to the national finals.
Holly said that "qualifying for the national finals is a fantastic opportunity to take such important issues, like PeaceJam and squatting, to a wider audience."
Alice, who was highly commended in the recent Model United Nations Conference - a schools' invitational exercise based on the structure and function of the UN - managed to speak despite suffering a bout of tonsillitis and said she is "looking forward to the national competition."
Lily, who took part despite suffering from 'flu, felt after today's competition that she can rise to any occasion when needed, describing the experience as "confidence building".
Jo Hayward, Director of Studies at The Mount, said "It was interesting that the top two teams were all girls." The Mount is the UK's only all-girls Quaker school and extols the benefits of single sex education and the self-confidence it encourages within pupils.
Andrew Gardiner, proud parent and spectator said "The girls gave a great performance against strong opposition and they should be very proud of themselves."
Eight schools from across Great Britain and Ireland will compete in the National Finals at Hull University on 28 April.
After the event, the girls were busy preparing their arguments for the Yorkshire regional finals of the hotly contested Debating Matters competition in Leeds on 18 March.
Photo: Lily Howells, Holly Gardiner, Alice Grierson and a Rotary dignitary after the girls won the East of England final.
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