York Student Tops National Finals
9:07am 30th April 2013
A York student has been named Best Chairperson in the national finals of a major public speaking competition for schools, where adjudicators agreed the standards were the highest ever seen.
Alice Grierson, 17, of The Mount School (York), took the Best Chairperson title in the Rotary Youth Speaks national finals for senior schools, held at Hull University, after she and her team mates Holly Gardiner, 17 and Lily Howells, 16, had qualified earlier in the year by winning the top spots for North Yorkshire, Yorkshire and the East of England with their topic of the decriminalisation of squatting.
The overall senior division of the final was won by Brentwood School on the topic of ‘Raising Children Without Cutlery’, with John Ogilvie High School (topic - ‘We’re All Cheats’) and Rugby High School (topic - ‘Are We The Most Ignorant Generation Ever’) taking second and third places respectively.
The Mount and Rugby High were the only teams from all-girls schools in yesterday’s finals, as well as being the only all-girl teams.
Adjudicators also voted Isabel Fewster from Brentwood as the Best Speaker and Joseph Kellachan of Ogilvie High won the Best Vote of Thanks.
Rotary Youth Speaks is an international competition run by the Rotary Club, open to school students between the ages of 11-18, to actively encourage the young to improve their public speaking skills.
Bill Ramsay of the English Speaking Union chaired the Senior Competition adjudicators, and declared yesterday’s presentations were of the highest quality ever seen.
Alice said ‘The level of pupils’ abilities yesterday was insanely high, there was a lot of humour deployed in the speeches. I quite enjoyed the day. I even met my favourite childhood author (Master of Ceremonies, author and educator Gervais Phinn).’
Holly, who last week was elected to take over as the School’s Head Girl from September this year, said ‘The topics people chose to talk about were very interesting, and it was a really enjoyable event. You could tell this was a National Final: the buffet was amazing; the competition room was quite daunting; we used microphones so we could be heard by the 300+ audience; and there was proper stage lighting, which there hadn’t been in the previous rounds.’ Ever magnanimous, she adds cheerily ‘It was nice for us to see another all girls’ team placed third!’
Deputy Head of The Mount School, Victoria Sherwood, said “The girls were simply brilliant. We are all delighted for them and they should be very proud of themselves. The competition was amazing and a real feather in the cap for the girls and indeed for the entire School. This initiative by the Rotary Club of GB and Ireland is a truly great grassroots programme for young people, whether they are pursuing careers requiring public speaking skills or even if they are just trying their hand at it for the first time.”
The event is the school’s second competitive national finals this month.
Earlier 15 year old Niamh Devlin took part in the Poetry by Heart finals, having won the North Yorkshire championship of the competition spearheaded by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.
In June a team from The Mount will take their place in the national finals of the hotly contested Debating Matters competition at University College London and the Royal Society of Medicine. The winners of Debating Matters will progress to the International Finals in India.
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