Youth Speaks 2016

4th Annual Event

Local teams go on to greater success
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Youth Speaks

Local Schools Triumph in Rotary Competition

The Winning Harvey Grammar School Teams with the Rotary District Governor

The Harvey Grammar School representing the Rotary Clubs of Shepway swept the board in the District Round of the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition held in Maidstone, winning both the Senior and Intermediate Sections. They were ably supported by an exceptional contribution in the senior section from Folkestone Academy represented by Chairperson: Chloe Ross, Speaker: Lewis Dempsey and Vote of Thanks: Phoebe Sproston. Their motion was: "Does Advertising Influence our Food Choices?"

The competition was intense from schools throughout Kent, but with a combination of style, content and lively presentation, the Harvey teams battled to victory. Their Senior Team, comprising Chairperson: Connor Brown, Speaker: Laurence Snow and Vote of Thanks: Owen Smith was brilliantly and satirically topical with their motion "Playing the Trump Card". The Intermediate Harvey Team comprising Chairperson: Alistair Carney, Speaker: Melad Tarjomani, and Vote of Thanks: George Dickerson thoughtfully and cogently argued their motion, "I am not WHITE, you are not BLACK".

This team also won the awards for the best Chairperson and best Speaker

As ever, these young people reflect huge credit on themselves, their families and their educators. I hope they all enjoyed participating. Rotary in Shepway certainly enjoyed creating the possibility for their triumphs and will be following their future career paths with interest. Of special note is the contribution made to the success of the sequence of competitions, so far, by Rotarian Collen Hill who has led the organisation of the qualifying events and made the participation by the competing teams so pleasurable and worth-while.

Senior Winners: Connor Brown, Owen Smith, Laurence Snow

Intermediate Winners: Melad Tarjomani, George Dickerson, Alistair Carney

Report form the local qualyfying competition

There is a personal dread attached to the planning for this event. As well as the pupils and schools, Rotary itself is on show, so the event must run smoothly. Luckily we are presided over by the unflappable Collen Hill, and we have at close hand the genial Harry Wooding and we have a total confidence that David Owen will preside majestically, and John Gabris will do the sound and video, John Cox and Collin Hawkins will operate the time signals and Richard Swan and Bob Nott will ask the right questions. So in reality, it should be a doddle.

And yet…. There is always some unforeseen occurrence or omission. The first year we did not appreciate how much voices were lost in the acoustics of the theatre, so, after the first ten minutes, from then on we have had to use microphones. These bring their own problems of management. Solutions courtesy of John Gabris.

And then the plans of the principal guest go awry and we have to slow down the programme to accommodate this, so long questions and pregnant pauses to take up time were deemed necessary.

Also, after the programme is printed, we have requests from schools to the effect that key members of their teams have interviews or time conflicts that preclude their arriving at the allotted time and could they appear later in the programme. This year we went through three alterations before the programme was settled.

So it is always a bit fraught, but once under way so obviously a valued part of the educational year.

I am amazed at the dedication, skills and poise shown by our participating teams. If anyone were to question our futures with our youth at the helm, I could express total confidence that it was safe in their hands. Rotary is doing sterling service in providing opportunities for youth to develop and flourish in terms of competence and confidence.

 Teams came from Brockhill Park Performing Arts College, Folkestone Academy, The Harvey Grammar School and The Marsh Academy and comprised a Chair person, Main Speaker and Proposer of the Vote of Thanks. They debated a wide range of fascinating subjects from “The Rise of Fantasy” to “How equal are we to each other?”.

In a wonderful mix of humour and high seriousness the teams battled it out. The judges were unanimous in their praise for the high standard of presentation and teamwork shown by all the students.

The two top teams in each category now move on to the District Final of March 4th. They carry with them the best wishes of Shepway Rotary for future success.

The Intermediate Section for students up to 14 years of age was won by The Harvey Grammar School who debated “I’m not white, you are not black”.  Brockhill College with their subject, “Reconsidering the Education System” came second.

In the Senior Section, Folkestone Academy wondering whether Advertising influenced our Food Choices was placed first, with the bow-tied Harvey team second with their topical subject, “Playing the Trump Card. Each of these teams will be worthy representatives of Shepway in the next round.

Indeed any of the teams taking part would have been worthy ambassadors and the organisers were grateful to every one participating.

The two chief judges, Mary Tyler and Martin Wybrow, in their constructive criticisms reflecting the appraisals of their fellow judges, Pat Chipping, Mark Fletcher, Louise Seear and Peter Heselden, praised the teamwork and the style of presentation and endorsed the quality of thought that the teams demonstrated.

In presenting the certificates, the Guest of Honour, Damian Collins M.P. recognised the quality of the presentations and the benefits of the competition. He also offered as a supplement to the £100 prize to the winning schools, a personal visit to the Houses of Parliament to the four teams.


Senior Teams

Folkestone Academy

Topic: Does Advertising Influence our Food Choices?
Chloe Ross (Chairperson)
Lewis Lemsey (Speaker)   
Phoebe Sproston (Vote of Thanks)


The Harvey Grammar School

Topic: “Playing the Trump Card”
Connor Brown (Chairperson)
Lawrence Snow (Speaker)
Owen Smith (Vote of Thanks)

Brockhill Performing Arts College A

Topic: The rise of Fantasy
 Charlotte Baldwin (Chairperson)
 Nazta Sidique (Speaker)
 Maddie Gill (Vote of Thanks)

The Marsh Academy

Topic: Mental Health
Jago King (Chairperson)
Sophie Ashdown (Speaker)         
Charley Lock (Vote of Thanks)

Brockhill College of Performing Arts B

Topic: Meta-reality
 Millend Rai (Chairperson)
 Kieran Burnett (Speaker)
Tristan Broes (Vote of Thanks)

Intermediate Teams

Harvey Grammar School

Topic: “I am not white, you are not black”
Alistair Carney (Chairperson)
Melad Tarjomani (Speaker)
George Dickenson (Vote of Thanks)       

Brockhill College of Performing Arts

Topic: Re-considering the Education System
Nancy Chandler (Chairperson)
Alex Muir (Speaker)
Brooke Harris (Vote of Thanks)

Folkestone Academy

Topic: How equal are we to each other?
Luke Martin (Chairperson)
Connor Booth-Wolfe (Speaker)
La Tia Sart-Richards(Vote of Thanks)


Damian Collins M.P. with Youth Speaks Champions, Folkestone Academy and The Harvey Grammar School


Damian Collins M.P. with all the contestants in the Shepway Youth Speaks competition