Eight teams of three students, from three local schools, attended the Whitby and District 29th Youth Speaks, at the Saxonville Hotel.
Each team comprised a chairperson, a main speaker and a voter of thanks, and together they gave a disquisition on a subject chosen from a given list of diverse current topics.
Under way first was the intermediate round (of year 7 and 8 pupils), with the Eskdale year 8s having to go first. Their topic of Deafness is a greater handicap than blindness was interesting and quite horrifying.
The Bookworms year 7 team from Eskdale spoke of how Books are a better friend than the Ipad, suggesting that books are much safer and friendlier than moder gadgets.
Fylinghall’s Highway to Hell team spoke about public transport to be promoted at the expense of the private car” which altered many of the audience’s views.Finally, Caedmon College Whitby, or Caedmon’s Callidus Women Year 7 girls, spoke about the biggest problem today is how women are treated. This challenged the audience and proved to be memorable.
Opening the senior competition (of year 10-13 students) was another Fylinghall team; a trio, made up of two Germans and a Polish speaker, discussing the topic of the refugee crisis.
The topic of the refugees was a particularly popular subject, as teams Lifeline and A Kiwi, both from Cædmon College Whitby, also selected to discuss the issue. Each team presented it in a unique style.
Team Lifeline had a very emotional impact on the audience, retelling a horrific event, emphasising the dreadful details of something the audience seemed unaware of.
However, the other Cædmon team focused on encouraging the audience to picture the appalling lives of refugees and to realise the differences between their own lives, through the unexpected medium of breakfast – the witty relevance of which became apparent in the main speech.
Cædmon College had another senior team – Lost yet Found – who chose a highly intellectual topic, discussing how we can lose and find ourselves through art. Tension built in the moment leading up to the awards; with such high competition the winners of both categories was so unpredictable.
The judges prolonged the agony by giving each speaker valuable and individual feedback. It all came down to the final score - and it was success for Cædmon, with Cædmon Callidus Women regaining the trophy for the
intermediate competition; and A Kiwi, a Brummie and an Algerino topping the senior teams.
The Chris Perry Best Speaker award, a trophy awarded to the best individual speaker, donated by Bill and Pat Perry, was also presented. This year the main speaker of the Fyling Hall sixth form team received the award.
Thank you to the Rotary Club for holding and judging the competition – and for giving youth the chance to speak and be heard.