Monday 12th April 2021

Public Speaking Society Outstanding Success

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Congratulations to our Public Speaking Team who recently took part in the prestigious ESU Churchill Public Speaking Contest. A wonderful array of talent saw our students excel in their respective roles. A contest undertaken via ZOOM proved to be a magical evening of outstanding ORACY skills. Our picture shows our team being presented with their certificates and awards by Headteacher Paul Dickinson. This event held under challenging times in the most demanding of situations proved that our students will meet, excel and achieve in the most difficult situations.

Mr Hicks, Public Speaking Co-ordinator at the college said, “ we have had a fantastic level of achievement with Public Speaking at the college over many years, but this year was completely different to any other, really a tale of two cities”.

Headteacher Paul Dickinson praised the college team, saying: “Death! a visit to the dentist and giving a speech in public — a recent survey showed these are the three things people fear most in life”. Adding “Giving a speech in public came top of the three “. “To Ciara, Jake and Michael our sincere congratulations on a job well done. Truly amazing ambassadors for the college community, we are so proud of you”

Added to this, Ciara Miller received confirmation that her application to join the England Development Debating Squad was accepted. Ciara, speaking to Mr. Hicks, said “ this was a rigorous application process, but one that I enjoyed and I am really looking forward to the many opportunities that this organisation will provide”. (We wish you every success Ciara – you deserve it)

ESU Public Speaking Background...

The prestigious ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition sponsored by the International Churchill Society is the largest such contest in England and Wales, with around 400 teams (each comprising a speaker, questioner and a chairperson). The different roles allow students to practise and excel in different skill sets and the competition’s unique format, which pairs the speaker from one school with the chair and questioner of another encourages quick thinking and relationship building. The contest is now in its 61st year.

Ciara's Speech delivered at the contest.

Thank you for that introduction and thank you for having me with you tonight

To say freedom is overrated is an insult to anyone who has fought and died for FREEDOM.
John Lennon,
Martin Luther king,
Nelson Mandela,

the list goes on.

These people had one common cause - freedom.

To use your time to do what you please, to sit on any seat on any bus, to have a dream of equality come true.

All these people fought for freedom and many continue that fight today. People say you do not know what you have until it's gone ,but ladies and gentlemen the truth is you knew what you had but you just never thought you would never lose it.

And that exactly is what freedom was for our society. IT is an underrated liberty we never thought we would lose until on March 23rd 2020 five words changed our lives forever. ‘YOU MUST STAY AT HOME’ five words........ and the ability to have our freedom was taken away.

No school, no work ! only go to the shops if essential, exercise only thirty minutes a day,
five words took our freedom away,
... our freedom was gone.

Education yet another freedom / privilege we thought we would never lose. Another gift we took for granted.

For me being stuck in an educational institution for 6 hours a day, five days a week was the complete opposite of freedom but as they say absence makes the heart grow fonder and school seems only a distant memory of happiness, learning and seeing friends , my friends every day.

I have often reflected on a young girl named Malala Yousafzaia small girl, who was shot in the head by the Taliban WHY ? because she fought for her freedom to an education.
Malala is such an important figure and an important symbol for the importance of education and the true values of freedom.

There is a famous quote from “to kill a mockingbird” …... it goes like this ‘you never understand a person, until you consider things from their point of view… until you climb inside their skin and walk around in it.’ And before I walked in Malala’s shoes I never quite understood what it meant for my life, without school, but now I understand the
and sadness she felt.

When I eventually do go back to school …..... whenever that may be, I assure you, I will not be taking it for granted. Freedom is not overrated. It is a priceless liberty that we have all taken for granted.

We our in our third lock-down yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel,
there is still hope that one day our freedom will return.

Let's put this another way !Many times, what we perceive as a challenge, in difficult times is actually a gift and eventually we find that lessons learned from those discouraging experiences prove to be of great worth.

YES, We have lost our freedom, but it will return and when it does we must not take it for granted, appreciate it, cherish it, love it and think of those whose freedom may never return.

I'll leave you with the wise words of Nelson Mandela.

“Freedom can never be taken for granted. Each generation must safeguard it and extend it. Your parents, your elders, sacrificed much so that you should have freedom without suffering what they did.

Use this precious freedom to ensure that the darkness of the past never returns.

Finally : remember You don't choose the moment, but the moment chooses you !

Thank you

Finally, as Churchill said, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.” Winston Churchill


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