Youth Speaks 2018 - though to next round!

Stonar teams have success at the annual Youth Speaks competition

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Contest to find the Best Public Speaker

Update: On Saturday 24 Feb, the Stonar team did it again and made it though to the next round - the Region, which will be held on Saturday 21 April in Shaftesbury!


Update: On Wednesday 7 Feb, the Stonar team beat the competition again with their engaging speech on 'Married or Single' at the District Semi-Final and will go through to to the District Final in Cheddar on 24 February!


This year the Rotary Public Speaking Competition has proved more popular than ever with nineteen teams schools from Melksham (Stonar School), Corsham (John Bentley), Chippenham (Abbeyfield, Hardenhuish and Sheldon), and Calne (St Mary’s) taking part.  Stonar School represented Melksham Rotary in both the Intermediate and Senior categories.

The Heats took place in late January and early February with teams of three competing passionately for a place in the Semi-Finals, which take place later in the month. The teams include a Chairperson, Speaker and a Proposer. The Chairperson introduces the team and the subject, the Speaker then has 6 minutes to talk about their chosen subject with the Proposer summing up the speech and thanking the team and audience.

 In the Senior Competition, both Stonar teams kept their audience totally engaged and entertained with a more light-hearted look at the benefits of being married or single and the stereotyping of Russian people.  Sophia Shamolina in the Stonar A team, a Russian student whose first, and indeed second, language is not English, spoke eloquently and without notes on common misperceptions people have of Russians. 

In the end, it was the Stonar B team that stole the show, despite the fact that they are year 10/11 pupils who were up against far more experienced sixth form teams.  Stonar team B, comprising Hermione Titcombe (chairperson), Bella Harris Johnstone (speaker) and Rhiannon Beeley (proposer) won first place overall as well as the best speaker award for Bella Harris Johnstone.  It is most unusual for both awards to be given to the same team, which highlights the exceptional talent of this particular Stonar team.

In the Intermediate Competition, Hannah Browning, year 6 student at Stonar school won the best speaker of the evening arguing that ‘school pupils should be paid!’  It was a well-constructed, entertaining and well-presented presentation which, by the end of the 6 minutes, had almost convinced the audience that it would be a good idea – certainly food for thought. The other Stonar team subject was ‘Hot or Cold’ and discussed the benefits of being hot over being cold.  In summing up the speech the head judge suggested that the speaker Anabel Crawley had a future as a stand-up comedian.

The Competitions are sponsored by Bradford-on-Avon, Melksham, Calne, Wiltshire Vale and Chippenham Rotary Clubs.

Rotarian Walter Girven, a former Chief Constable of Wiltshire, said “I so enjoy hearing these talented students. The ability to speak publicly is so important in many careers”