We have, for some time, organised and hosted a “Young Speakers Competition” which is exclusively for students at primary school level and this competition goes from strength to strength. This year, however, under the auspices of Youth Services Convener, Douglas Small, it was decided to expand our efforts in the public speaking arena by encouraging the local High School to participate in Rotary International’s “Youth Speaks Competition” which is an entirely different concept to the primary schools competition which is based on individual speakers.
“Youth Speaks” covers the wider aspect of public speaking in that it is a team event comprising a Chairperson, a Speaker who is asked a question and a third member who proposes a Vote of Thanks. The Chairperson is allocated 2mins for the introduction, the Speaker 6mins for the topic + 2mins for an answer to a question and 2mins for the Vote of Thanks.The “Youth Speaks” competition operates at local and then district/regional/national levels and the plan is that on the back of a successful local competition Rotary Oban would put teams forward to compete hopefully at the varying stages of competition.
L to R - Clare Bryden, Zeph Petit, Islay Cameron, Bethany Dunlop, Oscar Wells, Ronnie Neil, Rhona McCracken, Bridget Cox, Ken Moncrieff, Rowan Watkins, Stuart Head, Iain Mac Intyre, Asher Petit, George Miller, Douglas Small.
The Rotary Club of Oban held it’s local “Youth Speaks Competition” at the Royal Hotel, Oban on Thursday 26th November, supported by Oban Speakers Club members who acted as adjudicators and time keepers with green, amber and red lights in evidence. The competition was well attended by Parents and Rotarians, the latter by President Ken Moncrieff, Past President Ronnie Neil, Secretary George Miller, Youth Services Convener Douglas Small and Youth Services committee member, Iain MacIntyre.
Unfortunately, due to illness and competing commitments, we had only two teams competing at intermediate level (11 to 13 years old) and one team in the senior category (14 to 17 years old). Nevertheless, the evening was a huge success, both in terms of the presentations and the mechanics of organising an event of this nature. Both teams, at intermediate level, were exemplary as was the senior team in it’s presentation. All concerned, Rotary, Oban High School, Oban Speakers Club, and the students, were of the opinion that “it will be bigger and better next year i.e. 2016/17”. Following on from the competition, Oban Rotary are to forward teams to compete at Regional level in January and February, 2016.
L to R – Zeph Petit, Stuart Head, Asher Petit
L to R – Rhona McCracken, Bridget Cox, Rowan Watkins
Each team member received a Rotary Certificate of Participation from President Ken
An e-mail from Clare Brydon, our Oban High School contact, confirmed that following the evening the pupils had a “buzz about them”. This augurs well for next year, bearing in mind that this year embraced a new concept at short notice. Hopefully, we can look forward to increased numbers in 2016, giving us a chance to have separate nights for intermediate and senior participants.
And afterwards ......
As a follow on from our local Youth Speaks Competition in the Royal Hotel, Oban in November the winning intermediate team (11 to 13 year olds) went forward to the District competition which was held in the Pollockshaws Burgh Hall on Sunday 31st January, 2016. In all, nine schools competed and you will recall that the format is based on a three person team i.e a Chairman, a speaker and the third person giving a vote of thanks.
Oban Rotary was represented by Iain Mac Intyre seen here with English teacher Clare Bryden and from left to right Asher Petit(Speaker), Stuart Head(Chairperson), and Zeph Petit(Vote of Thanks).
The standard was in many ways beyond belief given the age of the participants and the subjects chosen but I am very pleased to say that our three from Oban High School acquitted themselves very well and the only difference I noted was that the winners - St Andrews & St Brides High School (East Kilbride) - were more experienced as were all the other contenders. In other words, all the other participating schools had previous knowledge of the event and indeed the venue which was quite grand and therefore a little bit intimidating whilst this was our first time. That said, the three OHS pupils very much enjoyed the experience and as did the parents who came along. Clare Bryden, the OHS English Teacher who took on board with enthusiasm our initiative for this competition, is very keen to continue our involvement with an anticipated increase in the number of competitors next year for our local competition which as indicated leads to a District competition and thereafter to a competition at National/UK level.
Each member of he teams received a Certificate of Participation from District Governor, Andy Lees.
It is unfortunate that due to school holidays in February clashing with the senior competition a team from OHS will not be able to take part.