Final of the public speaking competition

Tue 20th November 2018 at 6.30 pm - 6.30 pm


37th Annual Glasgow Schools Public Speaking Competition.


November 2018 saw the four heats and the Final of the 37th year of the Rotary Club of Glasgow’s Schools Public Speaking Competition.


63 pupils from S1 to S6 representing 12 Glasgow Schools were registered to compete.  Our thanks to The Headmasters and staff from Shawlands Academy, The High School of Glasgow; St Aloysius College and Hutchesons’ Grammar School for hosting. We are also grateful to The Hallmark Hotel for hosting the 1st Heat following the last-minute withdrawal of Craigholme School following the sad passing of their Headmistress.

Competitors had three subjects to choose from and five minutes to deliver the subject matter. Marks were assessed over seven categories.  The standard over the heats was extremely high which made the judging of the Final particularly difficult.

The winners were: -

S1-S3  Carole Horne Quaich

Christopher Morris: St Aloysius College

Main Competition

1st Rebecca Grainger: Kings Park Secondary School

2nd Meera Kaiser: Douglas Academy

3rd Aubrey McCance: Hutchesons’ Grammar School


President George Russell presented the winners with the trophies, their cheques and certificates to all the Finalists.

A special thanks to Ian Wylie for all the work he does “behind the scenes” in the considerable administration required to ensure that this competition takes place and to the success that it has become.  To Ian Callander, Jonathan Wright and Ian Dale who shared the task of chairing the heats and Final.  To Bill Christie, Head Judge and the nine Rotarians who served on the judging panel with him.  To Andy and Elaine May who ran the  “registration desk” throughout the competition. To Bill McVicar our “meeter and greeter” and to the Rotarians who supported the Heats and Final and provided assistance.


The Club is also grateful to the members of staff from so many schools who have supported this event for many years; for their enthusiasm and dedication to coaching and encouraging pupils to participate.


Bill Christie

Convenor Youth Committee

The Rotary Club of Glasgow

David Ruddy, St. Aloysius prepared this article:

2018 Glasgow Rotary’s Annual Schools Public Speaking Tournament

Personal Excellence

Despite the increasing pressure on any school’s calendar during the Autumn months, Glasgow Rotary’s Annual Schools Public Speaking Tournament seems to be going from strength to strength.

In this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, we have plenty of cause for Thanksgiving. Recent harvests from Rotary youth events have been abundant, and our students have certainly been loaded and blessed with success:

·        In 2016, Honor McWilliams won the individual trophy.

·        In 2017, Eva Pryce won 3rd place overall whilst only in S3.

Now, in 2018, a first-year student, Christopher Morris, has stepped up to the challenge of his very first speaking competition, and has just won the Carole Horne trophy for S1-S3 pupils, and was a very serious contender for an overall prize against much older pupils.

For the third year in a row, St Aloysius’ College produced more finalists than any other competing school. In addition to our record-breaking five finalists this year, praise is due to Daniel Carmichael of S5 and Anna Sanderson S2 who both gave truly marvellous performances in earlier heats and only narrowly missed out on a place in the final.

Now in its 37th year, and long acknowledged as one of the most challenging youth speaker events in the country, this tournament thrusts more than sixty participants from S1 to S6 into direct competition, across four heats and a final, with absolutely no age concessions sought or given!

Each participating school puts forward up to six entrants. Every speaker must deliver, without reliance on notes, an entertaining and informative speech on one of three prescribed topics. This year’s topics were: “Which human quality do we need more of, and why?”, “Real Learning does not take place in the classroom” and “Conversation is Survival”.

Marks were awarded for the speaker’s subject knowledge; developed argument; effective conclusion; confident presence; gestures and eye contact; voice projection and clarity; and timekeeping.

For the first time, St Aloysius’ College also hosted one of the four heats, before the final was held in Fotheringay Hall at Hutcheson’s Grammar. All pupils and their families who attended each of the four heats and the final were true ambassadors for the College community. We should all be extremely proud of our young people and the credit they bring to our school.

Mr Ruddy said:

“In 2015, I was asked by Mr Meechan and Dr Simpson to coach our Rotary speakers, because the success of their own weekly Public Speaking club meant they could not possibly be everywhere at once. I was uncertain because I knew how much was entailed in this particular tournament. What I did not know then was the great satisfaction it would bring.

I am very grateful for having had the opportunity of working so closely with such extremely dedicated, hard-working and talented young people. It has been a particular privilege to help less experienced speakers, and those facing individual challenges, to grow in confidence and develop into highly accomplished orators.

Of course, all our recent successes in Rotary would have been impossible without the full support of colleagues and the parents, family and friends who give up so much time to rehearse with our young speakers and turn out to support them in all weathers.

This was easily the best final for many years, and the Rotary judges had a genuinely difficult task, so perhaps it is worth remembering that the Rotarians are all volunteers whose generous efforts to provide this platform for talented young people deserve our continued support and gratitude.

As a result of this Rotary experience, and their membership of the Public Speaking Club, many young speakers feel confident enough to offer their skills freely for the common good and go on to make the most of the many opportunities on offer at St Aloysius’ College.”





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