Brilliant Performances at Glasgow Rotary Public Speaking Competition
Huge congratulations to Eva Pryce (S3) who won third place overall in last week’s final of the Glasgow Rotary Annual Schools Public Speaking Competition. Eva’s prize-winning performance was a fresh and amusing slant on the “Influence of Nature” and the importance of conserving our environment. In an impassioned, but hilarious, performance she delivered her five-minute speech entirely without notes before a large audience at Hutcheson’s Grammar School.
Eva’s achievement is all the more impressive because this is a tournament which thrusts more than sixty participants from S1 to S6 into direct competition with one another, with absolutely no age concessions sought or given!
Despite this, and for the second year in a row, St Aloysius’ College had no fewer than four of its pupils amongst the eighteen finalists in this very prestigious competition. This was more than any other competing school, and is a sure sign that we were again blessed with strength in depth, as well as with consistency across all four heats.
Eva was joined in this year’s final, as in last year’s, by her peers, Humzah Razzaq and Scarlett Morris. That same trio had so impressed last year’s judges that, in the very same year that Honor McWilliams OA won this title at her sixth successive final, her three younger protégés were asked to represent Glasgow Rotary in its team tournament, Youth Speaks!
Of course, the rest is history. Eva, Humzah and Scarlett not only went on to win the District, but also the Regional and Great Britain and Ireland championships last year, and in conjunction with Honor’s individual victory, this completed a ‘clean sweep’ for our Rotary speakers in 2017.
Such triumphs are often followed by a fallow period, but not for this magnificent crop, it seems. The trio returned as finalists again this year, to be joined by Lucas McMenemy of S6, who has qualified for three major public speaking finals in his last year at the College. All four St Aloysius' finalists gave outstanding accounts of themselves on the night, with each acknowledged to be ‘in the running’ till the very end.
Indeed, the Rotary Competition itself seems to be going from strength to strength. Each of the twelve schools taking part puts forward up to six entrants. Each speaker has to deliver, without reliance on notes, an entertaining and informative speech on one of three prescribed topics. This year, those topics were: “Who or what most influenced me”, “Why young people no longer join clubs” and “Living with Social Media”. Marks are awarded for the speaker’s subject knowledge; developed argument; effective conclusion; confident presence; gestures and eye contact; voice projection and clarity; and timekeeping. In previous years, the venue for heats and final had been Glasgow Caledonian University, but this year’s heats took place in Craigholme, Jordanhill, Glasgow Academy and High School of Glasgow before the final in Hutcheson’s Grammar.
Over the four tightly-contested evening heats in November, even the very experienced Rotary judges were clearly taken aback by the sheer quality of this year’s participants. Judges said it was the toughest final they had known in the 36 year history of the competition, and they were split on the final verdict. Helpful feedback showed that very little separated our other speakers from prizes on the night.
Our gratitude should also go to Lucy Docherty and Grace McWilliams S4, both marvellous performers who narrowly missed out on this final. They controlled all they could control and were magnificent, but only a small number goes through from each heat. All pupils and their families who attended each of the four heats were true ambassadors for the College community. We should all be extremely proud of our young people and the credit they bring to our school.