It’s that time of year again! Throughout Great Britain and Ireland Rotary clubs sponsor teams who enter the Youth Speaks competition hoping to win the various rounds to reach the National Final.
The first round, organised by our own Venn Davies and Neil Philips on behalf of the five Rotary Clubs in Telford was held at Adams’ Grammar School on Tuesday, 9th February. The experienced and truly wonderful Jean Escott chaired the judging panel for us again and on her birthday, no less! She was ably assisted by Psyche Hudson, the Arts and Culture Manager at Telford and Wrekin Council. Philip Browning joined them this year, a member of Ironbridge Rotary Club and a former District Judge in the Magistrates Courts.
Our club was represented by a team of 15 year old students from the Charlton School (Megan Ward, Bethany Long and Jake Gill, tutor Liz Tattersall) with a talk entitled ’21st Century: Generations X, Y & Plus Size.’ They spoke of the pressure imposed on young people by the fashion industry and the media. Charlton were competing against teams from Newport Girls’ High School, Abraham Darby Academy and the hosts, Adams’ Grammar School.
It was an excellent evening with twenty seven from our own club joining other Rotarians, partners, parents and friends to give the contestants every encouragement. Well over a hundred people witnessed some first class public speaking by these admirable young people.
Newport Girls’ were adjudged the winners. Their talk, ‘True Crime’, discussed the fascination of some of the public with television programmes which glorify actual murders or foul deeds, despite the grief and heartache caused by such crimes. Abraham Darby, with a self explanatory title ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ were placed second. Both teams progress to the District Final at Aldridge on 9th March. The audience treated Jean to an impromptu chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ and went home very impressed by the performance of all the teams.