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Language wins Frome Rotary Youth Speaks competition semi-finals

Above: The winning team of St Laurence School, l-r, the speaker Eleanor Cousins Brown (who also won the coveted Best Speaker Cup), the chairman Maia Campbell Lewis and Fin Robertson who gave the ‘vote of thanks’. In the background is Frome Selwood Rotary Club's president Terry Candy

Above: The winning team of St Laurence School, l-r, the speaker Eleanor Cousins Brown (who also won the coveted Best Speaker Cup), the chairman Maia Campbell Lewis and Fin Robertson who gave the ‘vote of thanks’. In the background is Frome Selwood Rotary Club’s president Terry Candy

THE annual semi-finals of the ‘Intermediate Rotary Youth Speaks Competition 2014’ of the local area took place at the Standerwick Conference Centre on Thursday 27th February, hosted as usual by the Rotary Club of Frome Selwood.  

Rotary Youth Speaks competitions, which are hosted by Rotary clubs in the region, has teams of 12 to 15 year old pupils from schools in Bath, North East Somerset, West Wiltshire and West Dorset debate on a topic of their own choosing in front of an audience of parents, teachers, a panel of judges as well as strangers.

Each team consists of the chairman, the speaker and one who gives the ‘vote of thanks’. After the speaker has finished his or her talk, a member of the audience will ask a surprise question which the speaker is required to answer in some detail.

The whole presentation is strictly timed.

The six teams which had reached the semi-finals were Hardenhuish (Chippenham), St Laurence (Bradford on Avon), Warminster School, two teams from Selwood Academy (Frome) and Sheldon (Chippenham). The topics were varied, thought provoking and challenging. They included  homosexuality, nurture nature, a healthy diet, language, Fairtrade and the pros and cons of social networking sites.

After a long deliberation the three judges declared as runner up the Hardenhuish team with Rachel Sexton in the Chair, Ellie Allen as speaker and Kathryn Titcombe giving the ‘vote of thanks’.  By a narrow margin the winners of this semi final was the team from St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon, which was complemented on its clear projection and passionate presentation of its message: the importance of language and the recognition and enjoyment of its inevitable growth and changes over time.

In the St Laurence team Maia Campbell Lewis was the exuberant chairman, the confident speaker was Eleanor Cousins Brown, while Fin Robertson gave the humorous ‘vote of thanks’. Eleanor Cousins Brown earned another accolade by winning the cup for Best Speaker.

Rotarian Mike Kelham was the MC for the evening. He pointed out that of the 18 competitors in this year’s semi final at Standerwick,  Fin Robertson was the only young man, and he hoped that in future more young men would step forward to show what they could do. Rotary Club of Frome Selwood’s president Terry Candy handed out the certificates and the prizes and complimented all the participants on their confidence and courage.

St Laurence team will go forward to the finals which will take place in the Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar on Saturday 15th March.

‘Youth Speaks’ is one of the many competitions, awards, exchanges and scholarships for young people that Rotary organises and funds. For those wanting to know more about the Rotary Club of Frome Selwood which hosted this event, its website is www.fromeselwood rotary.org.uk.

 

 

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