THE Gosport Youth Speaks competition gives students the chance to debate in a well-organised, intellectual environment.
In the first round of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition, two schools – Brune Park and Bay House – competed for a place in the Portsmouth area heat, although both went through.
The competition, which took place last week, was held at the Gosport Borough Council chamber, with permission from the Mayor, Councillor Lynn Hook.
The chairperson of the team sat in the Mayor’chair with the main speaker to their right, in an afternoon that the students will never forget.
The judges for the event were the Rev Andy Davis from Holy Trinity and Christ Church, Gosport, Dr Campbell McMurray, a retired museum director, and Maggie McMurray, a retired teacher.
Presentation topics were chosen by the students, who opted to tackle some of the tougher subjects facing modern society.
The issues of democracy, social media, legal highs, school curriculum and gender expectations were all hotly contested throughout the afternoon.
Youth services chairman Ray Drake said: ‘Every one of the presentations was well researched and delivered in a clear and confident manner.
‘It was clear that all of them had made a considerable effort to prepare their presentations, and had the courage to stand up and speak in public on their chosen subjects.’
Colin Davey from Gosport Rotary Club said: ‘It is a privilege for us to be able to give these young people the opportunity to show their abilities and reward their success.
‘Gosport is lucky to have such talented students, and also fortunate in having teachers such as Glenn Tapp and Fern Bicheno who have supported and developed the talents of these students.
Both teams will now represent Gosport in the Portsmouth area competition, to be held at Bay House School on February 15.
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