Voice of youth speaks out

Winning Balshaws team at Rotary Youth Speaks event
Winning Balshaws team at Rotary Youth Speaks event
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Passionate pupils from across South Ribble and Chorley got things off their chest at a recent Youth Speaks event.

Organised by members local Rotary Clubs, the annual speaking competition was held at Walton-le-Dale Arts College, and included eight schools, with a 11 to 13 age group and also a 14 to 17 age group.

WINNERS:  Balshaw's team at Rotary Youth Speaks event

WINNERS: Balshaw's team at Rotary Youth Speaks event

Subjects the teams talked about include family values – extolling the virtues of close knit families; favouritism - how all should have equal opportunities and favouritism should be outlawed; corruption in charities – the way that some charities do not deserve our support, and the impact of social networking.

Each team had a chairman, speaker and a proposer of the vote of thanks. They were allowed 12 minutes each to make their presentation, and impress three adjudicators.

The winning team in the 11 to 13 age group was from All Hallows Catholic High School in Penwortham, who spoke about the dangers of ‘designer babies’.

Their team was made up of Robert Tipping, Maisie Myerscough and Maddy Thorp.

Chief judge Anne Bouget said: “Maisie as speaker was passionate and an excellent communicator”.

The winning team in the 14 to 17 age category was from Balshaw’s CE High School in Leyland, who spoke about prejudice against women in today’s society.

Their team was made up of Anya Bolton, Anna Doughty and Emma Shorrock.

Chief judge James Blackhurst, managing director of Jigsaw Training in Preston, said: “The standard this year was very high and it was particularly impressive how so many of the speakers used no notes having learnt their speeches off by heart. That way they were able to be more passionate and engage with the audience better.”

The winning teams then went on a regional final for Lancashire and Cumbria, which the Balshaw’s pupils won. Anna and Emma were also awarded individual prizes for their efforts.

The All Hallow’s team, with Lucy Holohan replacing Maddy, came second. St Michael’s High School in Chorley came runner-up.

Both Balshaws and All Hallow’s have secured a place in the North West England competition on March 29.

Richard Lea of the Rotary Club of South Ribble said: “Schools in Chorley and South Ribble are always very keen on developing the very important skill of public speaking in their students and always do very well in the Rotary Youth Speaks competition. It is a great privilege to work with such talented young people”.