“As a school journalist, I know how hard it is to get across your opinion to the public. I imagine it is even harder when you’re speaking facing your audience — I don’t like to write when someone is watching my hands, either. Therefore, I was impressed by the performances of fellow students at the Youth Speaks competition, which took place in the Saxonville Hotel, Whitby, last Wednesday. Having not seen the speeches before, I didn’t know what to expect, but I have to admit that both teams representing Fyling Hall were very well prepared and were real competition for students from Eskdale School and Caedmon College.
Our representatives in the intermediate category were Evie, Lola and Archie, who gave a truly thought-provoking speech on the advantages of public transport. They claimed that we should promote collective transport rather than increase our use of private cars both due to environmental and health reasons, and managed to convince the majority of audience to agree with their view.
Our senior team were Paula, Karolina and Fanny from Sixth Form, who argued that we have a moral obligation to take in Syrian refugees. It is worth mentioning that they were the only competitors who don’t speak English as their first language, but this didn’t affect the quality of their speech at all. The bar was set high, especially because two other teams decided to speak on exactly the same topic and I was afraid that we were going to enter a cycle of repeating arguments. However, each group presented us with different perspectives on that issue and the speeches in fact complemented each other very well.
At the end of the night, the judges commented on each team’s performance, giving both their strengths and weaknesses. Both teams from Fyling Hall were ranked very highly and even though we didn’t repeat our victory from two years ago, the jury said they were exceptionally impressed by the emotional speech by Karolina Gruzel and awarded her with the prize for the best speaker of the night. This was an incredible achievement, not only as she was speaking in her second language but as she was picked as the best speaker from all 8 teams.
Well done to all the students who took part in the Youth Speaks.”