2014 Youth Speaks - Loud and Clear

Wed, Dec 11th 2013 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Billericay round of the nationide Rotary Youth Speaks competition was organised by our club, and hgeld this year at Mayflower School on December 10, 2013.

Youth Speaks – Loud and Clear!

Youth Speaks is a Rotary project nationwide and the Rotary Club of Billericay has, for many years, taken up the baton and run with it to set the ball rolling on a local basis.  This year the local round was held at Mayflower School on December 10.

The lack of entry this year, which Rotary Club organiser, Trevor Stansfield described as “frustrating” in his closing remarks, did nothing to diminish the quality of the speakers and the three judges had serious discussion before deciding on a 2-1 vote in favour of Billericay School in the senior section.

The selected pupils of teams of three (chairman, speaker and vote of thanks) were judged on all three speakers, and chose their own subjects.

Mayflower’s team of Oliver Alexander (Chairman), Regan Katz (Speaker) and James Redgrave (Vote of Thanks) chose: “The Joy of Language” – an excellent subject.  Regan spoke eloquently and forcefully but two judges felt that he lost his audience half way through and, when questioned from the floor, failed to provide enough satisfactory answers.

Billericay School’s team of Joe Vaile (chairman), Ellie Huntley (speaker) and Eleanor Ferry (vote of thanks), chose the emotive subject of bullying in school, based on recent press headlines of teenage schoolgirls taking their own lives as a result.  Ellie Huntley read her address from script to begin, then threw it down and talked from the heart. 

Emotive words:  “Where school bullying is concerned, let us not kid ourselves – girls are worse than boys.  Two boys will have a playground punch-up, dot each other’s nose and walk away. Next day, all forgotten.  
“Girls? They are like piranha fish. Snap, snap, snap – jealousy, envy, or silly friendships which might last a day, a week or disappear overnight!”

Judging-wise, it was a good school choice which left Mayflower’s Joy of Language (which one judge rightly assessed as a better and more difficult issue) fractionally behind.

Billericay School, using the same subject of Bullying, will now go onto the district final at Brentwood in the New Year.  As will the Mayflower intermediate team who qualified alone.

Judges’ Chairman, Rotarian Club member, Roger Kettle said:  “It was a split vote, 2-1, a matter of three or four points.  It was that close.  One judge thought that Mayflower was worthy of the prime spot on basis of choosing a more difficult subject.  He felt that Billericay had taken an easier option. But, overall, the judges congratulate everyone on the high standards.”

Organiser, former Rotary Club of Billericay president, Trevor Stansfield in his summing up, said:  “While I am disappointed that only two local schools – Mayflower and Billericay – entered the Youth Speaks competition and only one, Mayflower, entered a team in the intermediate category, I do thank all the staff and pupils who have worked together to keep Youth Speaks going and I do think, this evening, we have proved that it is a totally worthwhile project.  Pupils, teachers, I cannot thank you enough for your efforts and may the winning teams go on to win future rounds.”

Current Rotary Club of Billericay President, Keith Wood, closed the event:  “What I have seen here this evening assures me that our future is in good hands. I would ask all of you to take this memory away, to build on it and to ensure that it keeps you in good stead for what lies ahead.  You have performed magnificently this evening – on behalf of the Rotary Club of Billericay, I wish you good luck.”

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