Students speak up to claim top prize

High Tunstall school pupils senior team Alex Hughes, Kate Brown and Sam Chapman..
High Tunstall school pupils senior team Alex Hughes, Kate Brown and Sam Chapman..

MOVE over David Cameron and Barack Obama, the next generation of public speakers is coming – and they hail from Hartlepool.

Students from English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College and High Tunstall College of Science wowed judges in an annual public speaking competition and will now go on to represent the town.

The Rotary Club of Hartlepool held its 11th annual Youth Speaks Competition with five teams of students speaking on a range of topics in front of a 70-strong audience.

Students presented their topics in the theatre at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, in the town’s Blakelock Road.

The competition was broken into an intermediate section for 11 to 13-year-olds and a senior section for entrants aged 14 to 17.

English Martyrs won the intermediate section after impressing judges with their topic titled Mind your Manners.

The presentation focused on the attitudes of young people and said Olympic athletes were good role models for youngsters.

Last year teams from the school won both sections and went on to make the national finals.

Stacey Lowther, who worked alongside fellow English teacher Laura Petite, said: “The children worked extremely hard on this presentation.

“They have been very dedicated and it has been a privilege to work with them.”

Meanwhile, High Tunstall pupils scooped the senior competition with their presentation about technology and how it has changed our lives and become “our master”.

Andrew Devlin, head of citizenship, philosophy and ethics at the school, said: “The students have been working really hard spending many hours at lunch times and after schools working on the presentation.

“I was over the moon when we won. It is brilliant and testament to how much effort they have all put in.”

Each three-strong team had a chairperson, a speaker who presented the topic and a proposer of the vote of thanks.

Each speaker had a maximum of six minutes for the main speech.

Hartlepool Mail deputy editor Gavin Foster, a judge at the event, said: “I was once again privileged to be part of this fantastic event.

“The standard from all of the students was phenomenal and the talent displayed in Hartlepool was clear for everyone to see.

“The Mail is proud to be part of it.”

Rotary International is a worldwide organisation of professional, business and community leaders.

The Rotary Club of Hartlepool has 45 members and meets every Monday night in the Grand Hotel.

Neil Midgley, secretary of the Rotary Club of Hartlepool, said: “The event was very successful and we had representatives from all of the secondary schools in town taking part.

“They all worked hard and produced some very polished performances.”

The winning teams will now represent Hartlepool in the regional finals in Edinburgh next year, unless another local Rotary Club holds a similar competition, in which case there will be a district heat first.

If they get that far, the national finals will be held in London later next year.

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