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Youth Speaks


The opening heat of RIBI Youth Speaks Competition took place in the Sixth Form Centre at King Alfred’s Academy (KAA) in Wantage on 18th November last. Faringdon Community College (FCC) entered three teams – two senior for 14-17 year olds and one junior for 11-13 years while King Alfred had two senior and two junior teams.


After many years of sterling service David Stocks passed on the organization on behalf of Faringdon Rotary to Bjorn Watson and a new teacher, Charlotte Kitching, took on the tutelage of the FCC teams. So it was all change if not a case of the blind leading the blind! Charlotte did


a grand job of putting together, assisting and motivating the teams. It was the usual format with each team consisting of a chairman, speaker and someone to give the Vote of Thanks.


Our two senior teams had Akshay Mungroo speaking on the iniquities of cruelty to domestic animals and the marvellous work done by the animal protection charities such as the RSPCA. Ed Draper made a passionate plea on the concerns about the shortage of teachers. For our junior team Bradley Cox gave us a very enthusiastic explanation of the opportunities offered by young farmers.


The chairman of the judges Anthony Lynn summed up the presentations explaining that they had a very difficult job in deciding on the winning teams. He pointed out the importance of speaking slowly and clearly from a notes consisting of bullet points without reading from a script. Making eye contact with members of the audience is also important and, of course, the …….. pause!


Despite spending several lunch hours in practice for the big night sadly none if our teams won through to the next round although our B team, Cassia Micklem, Luke Stratford and Ed Draper, was only pipped by two marks! All the teams taking part did very well and learnt from the experience. They are determined to do better next year.


Once again the competition showed that our young people are not just errant teenagers and the views and opinions they expressed had some salutary lessons for those of us so- called more mature individuals. They should all be congratulated for the time and effort they put into it. We hope that they enjoyed and benefited from the experience.


Finally we need to thank Keith Mansell and the Wantage Rotary Club for hosting such an excellent competition and putting on a splendid buffet. We look forward to hosting it next year at FCC.


Bjorn Watson


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