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Contest to find the Best Public Speaker

MELKSHAM Rotary Club is celebrating the success of the Stonar School senior debating team, who are representing them in this year’s Rotary Public Speaking Competition, ‘Youth Speaks.’

Last week, the Stonar senior debating team (Stonar senior B team) were crowned ‘Best Team’ ahead of three other Wiltshire schools in the regional semi-finals.

Stonar students Bella Harris-Johnstone, Hermione Titcombe and Rhiannon Beeley presented a witty and well-researched presentation on the important issue of, ‘Married or Single’.  Bella Harris-Johnstone was also awarded the ‘Best Speaker’ prize.

The judging panel commented that the team answered the audience’s questions in a thoughtful and adept manner.

The team will represent the school and Melksham Rotary Club at the regional final after the half-term holidays at The Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar.

The news comes after Stonar’s successful appearance in the heats that took place in late January and early February.

As well as the winning talk from the Stonar senior B team that saw them progress into last week’s semi-final, there were notable performances from other senior students and the intermediate Stonar teams.

Sophia Shamolina in the Stonar senior A team, a Russian student whose first, and indeed second language is not English, spoke eloquently and without notes on common misperceptions people have of Russians.

In the intermediate competition, Hannah Browning, year 6 student at Stonar school won the best speaker of the evening arguing that ‘school pupils should be paid!’  It was a well-constructed, entertaining and well-presented presentation which, by the end of the six minutes, had almost convinced the audience that it would be a good idea – certainly food for thought. The other Stonar team subject was ‘Hot or Cold’ and discussed the benefits of being hot over being cold.  In summing up the speech the head judge suggested that the speaker Anabel Crawley had a future as a stand-up comedian.

The competitions are sponsored by Bradford-on-Avon, Melksham, Calne, Wiltshire Vale and Chippenham Rotary Clubs.

Rotarian Walter Girven, a former Chief Constable of Wiltshire said, “I so enjoy hearing these talented students. The ability to speak publicly is so important in many careers.”

Above left: Hannah Browning the ‘Best Individual Speaker’ with Calne president-elect, Sue Peskett.

Above right: Stonar B team Bella Harris-Johnstone, Hermione Titcombe and Rhiannon Beeley.

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