This year, St. Augustine’s will be taking part in the Rotary Club’s annual student public-speaking competition known as ‘Youth Speaks’. The first round will take place on the 28th February, at Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering.

Looking for volunteers, Mr Brindle was very pleased with the enthusiastic responses from the Year 9, 10 and 11 students whom he invited take part. Over Christmas, these students wrote and rehearsed speeches, working closely in teams of three, so that they could represent their school.

In January a qualifying round was organised and the following students are to be highly commended for their efforts and skill:

The intermediate students (of Years 10 and 11) produced very impressive first drafts that demonstrated extremely high potential. Thomas Dixon crafted a compelling speech about a new approach to Feminism, and was ably supported by Molly Newham and Jemima Whyte. They will have gained some valuable insight into speaking and writing for their upcoming GCSEs – their chances of obtaining excellent results look very rosy indeed. Harry Jaconelli expressed his almost perfectly timed six-minute speech about ‘The Idea of the Ideal’ with great vigour and sincerity, ably supported by the bubbly Esmée Eva and vivacious Zuzanna Ozon. In order to prepare for the size of the audience at the event, these three requested an extra Year 7 assembly and performed admirably for our youngest students who gave them some very thoughtful feedback.

The junior teams (of Year 9 students) were so mature in their preparation and eloquent in their delivery that they already resemble GCSE students. The three girls spoke engagingly and passionately about the plight of refugees, with Martina Mazzocato, Karina Jarmany and Marcjanna Slodczyk all speaking extremely skilfully in their second language!  It was truly A grade standard, but even (slightly) better were the three boys who also spoke about the Refugee Crisis – Tobias Cooper having some insight borne of personal experience, with Murray Robinson charming and fluent, and Saad Yousaf concluding the proceedings extremely adroitly.

We wish them luck in our – and their – first venture into competitive public speaking (which will be tomorrow, Tuesday 28th February!)