Martyrs pupils have gift of the gab at Rotary Youth Speaks contest

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A TOP class team of students have chatted their way through to the next round of a public speaking competition.

Joel Barry, Elizabeth Shanks and Lois Joynt, along with Rachel Baines, Jack Twydale and Carmel Harrison, all from English Martyrs School, took part in the district leg of the Rotary Youth Speaks contest at the Lancastrian Suite, in Gateshead, on Sunday.

The youngsters were split into two groups, intermediates and seniors, and went on to wow judges with their speaking on topics of Who Makes the Perfect Role Model, and Give Racism the Red Card.

And they beat off stiff competition from six other teams from around the North-East and Scotland region to both win first place, and entry to regional final in Dundee on Saturday.

The success follows the talented talkers scooping first place in the club finals in Hartlepool on February 13.

Today, Neil Midgley, from the Hartlepool Rotary Club which organises the Youth Speaks event for the town, said the youngsters did Hartlepool and themselves proud.

He said: “They worked very hard on this competition and that had work has borne fruit.

“I am really proud of their results, as I’m sure their school and families are.

“The competition wasn’t a walk-over by any means. They had to work hard in both sections and if they hadn’t put the work in then they wouldn’t have succeeded.

“They were very polished and you could tell they had put in a lot of practice.”

He added: “It’s a valuable opportunity for them to experience what it’s like speaking in public.

“People off don’t get many opportunities to do that in normal growing up.”

English Martyrs School headteacher Michael Lee said: “Our students did really well and they spoke with passion and very clearly.

“It was a difficult competition but we are absolutely delighted that they emerged victorious and will now go on to represent Hartlepool in the next round at Dundee.”

The English Martyrs School pupils were competing against Sacred Heart School, in Redcar, and Monkseaton High School in Whitley Bay.