THE competitive nature of Portsmouth’s schools reached fever pitch at the Group Youth Speaks competition.
Schools from across the region gathered for the second round of the contest, which is hosted nationwide by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
More than 70 school pupils gathered at the Rotary Club of Gosport, with refreshments provided by students from Bay House School, who were fundraising for a visit to their twinned school in Malawi.
The topics for the presentations were chosen by the students, with the issues addressed including the effectiveness of democracy, the right to offend, solutions to legal highs and whether companies were disregarding ethics in favour of profit.
Organiser, president-elect Ray Drake, said: ‘It takes courage to stand up and speak in public and it is a privilege for the Rotary Club of Gosport to be able to give these young people the opportunity to show their abilities and reward their success.
‘The competition showed that there are many talented students in the Portsmouth area, and that they are fortunate to have teachers who are able to develop and nurture these skills in their students.’
The presentations were made against the clock, with penalties for being over or under the allotted times.
The presentations were then judged by Fareham playwright Paul King, headteacher Georgina Mulhall and solicitor Matthew Drake.
In the end the judges agreed that Portsmouth High School were the winners of the competition.
Their senior team of Florence Smith, Francesca McBride and Milly Giles presented the idea that ‘everyone has the right to offend’.
The intermediate team presented a subject entitled ‘in their search for profits companies are disregarding their ethical responsibilities’ which was done by Madeleine Oliver, Anna Macfarlane and Evie Thomas.
Both groups have now advanced to the next stage and will represent Portsmouth at the Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton on Saturday, March 11.