This year we had two teams speaking in the local round of the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition held at Harrow Way School, Andover on Tuesday 17th January. The competition aims to offer young people the opportunity to speak on a public platform as a member of a team. The roles within each team are clearly defined and the main speaker speaks for six minutes on a topic of their choice; a daunting task for many adults, let alone Year 9 and Year 11 pupils.
Our Year 9 team: Abbey Barton (main speaker), Sam Hunt (chairperson) and Issy Henrys (vote of thanks) spoke about the value of reading for pleasure. In a passionate speech entitled “The Great Escape” Abbey encouraged her audience to put down their ipads and iphones and use their eyes to read instead. Abbey took us on a reading journey and was full of praise for our own well used library here at Test Valley. Our Year 11 team: Charlotte Thorpe (main speaker), Callum Giles (chairperson) and Laura Keane (vote of thanks) spoke about our seeming obsession with mobile phones. Charlotte introduced us to the idea of nomophobia: the fear of being without our phones: yes, it really exists. Charlotte encouraged us to engage with the real world instead of living our lives online and spoke about the impact that our mobile phones can have on our mental health.
Both teams delivered well-constructed speeches with confidence. They clearly engaged their audience and gave us all something to think about. The Senior Team were awarded trophies for Best Chairperson, Best Speaker, Best Proposer of the Vote of Thanks and Overall Winning Team. This means that the Senior Team will go forward to the next round of the competition which takes place at Test Valley School on Wednesday, 8th February. Well done to all the pupils who took part. It is always daunting doing something ‘out of your comfort zone’, but these pupils took on the challenge with determination and were a credit to Test Valley School.