Refugee crisis debated in Youth Speaks event

Isabella Bridge, Naomi Fester & Grace Hall, Caedmon Callidus Women - winners of the Intermediate trophy, holding the trophy
Isabella Bridge, Naomi Fester & Grace Hall, Caedmon Callidus Women - winners of the Intermediate trophy, holding the trophy
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The Rotary Club of Whitby and District staged its annual public-speaking contest for schools last Wednesday at The Saxonville Hotel.

It once again proved to be very popular, attracting eight teams, four of which competed at senior level and the others at intermediate level.

Paula Hattenkerl, Karolina Gruzel and Fanny Kohlsaat, Fyling Hall - senior girls in casual dress

Paula Hattenkerl, Karolina Gruzel and Fanny Kohlsaat, Fyling Hall - senior girls in casual dress

All local schools serving those age groups were well represented with teams from Caedmon College, Eskdale School and Fyling Hall School.

The senior teams delivered speeches of a high order and competition was stiff.

All four teams had excellent individual speakers, most of whom engaged with the topic of Britain’s responsibility to take more refugees.

One of the Fyling Hall team, a Polish girl called Karolina Gruzel, won The Perry Cup for an outstanding individual speech which was passionate and heartfelt and clearly moved the audience.

Lola Wilson, Evie Wallis and Archie Robinson, Fyling Hall - intermediate team in maroon blazers

Lola Wilson, Evie Wallis and Archie Robinson, Fyling Hall - intermediate team in maroon blazers

The senior team award went to Caedmon College again, this time to their year 10 team with the title A Kiwi, an Algerino and a Brummie.

The name arises out of their backgrounds because main speaker, Natasha Coia, originates from New Zealand.

The team cleverly linked their breakfast menus with that of the refugees, appealing to us to support an increase in the number being housed in this country.

Another very strong performance was given by team Lifeline whose main speaker, Ellie Dyer-Brown, was again outstanding, speaking from the heart and delivering an impassioned plea that it was our duty to take more refugees in Britain.

The intermediate competition was won by a team from Caedmon College, Caedmon Callidus Women (Callidus means clever in Latin).

All three girls spoke well but the main speaker, Naomi Fester, shone as she addressed the title – The biggest problem in the world today is how we treat women.

This was no feminist rant but rather a coherent rationale explaining where we are currently going wrong.

Organiser Mike Stones stressed in his concluding remarks: “Whitby Rotary Club is proud to support our young people in such initiatives which can only serve to breed confidence and self-belief.”

The evening was also attended by the town’s mayor, Heather Coughlan.