First Public Speaking competition hailed as a great success

Gatton Hall was the venue for the first Public Speaking Competition to be held at Royal Alexandra & Albert School. In what is planned to be an annual event which could later widen to involve other local schools or state boarding schools, speakers from year 8 to 13 pitted their wits against each other, with winners drawn from three age groups.

The five minute speeches were scored on how well the speech is put together, the speaker’s knowledge and understanding of their subject and the quality of speaking & persuasion.

All speakers performed to a very high standard, but there could only be one winner per category. In the Junior competition, year 8 pupil Jada Aligwekwe won top prize for her speech in praise of envy (as a means by which humans strive to improve their lot in life). In the Intermediate competition year 10 pupil Olivia McCombie won top spot for her passionate speech about the systematic damage mankind is doing to the planet’s environment. The Senior competition was won by Ella Saw from year 13, who spoke movingly about society’s view of addiction, seen from the perspective of someone who has seen the results of addiction within the family.

Speaking after the results were announced, our winners said:

Ella Saw, year 13 - “This is something I feel strongly about and I have spoken on the subject before. My dad would be very proud, he is really in to public speaking, so he will enjoy it when I tell him I won today!”.

Olivia McCombie, year 10 - ‘Every day we damage the environment, but we don’t really realise what we’re doing. I’ve spoken before on the environment in class, but it was so much better to talk about it this way. It’s quite scary standing up in front of all these people, but I’m so glad I’ve done it, it’s a life skill which will be really useful.”

Jade Aligwekwe, year 8 - “This was my first time doing proper public speaking, but I’m often the person in class who has to talk on behalf of the group, so I’m a bit used to it! Now that I’ve done this, I want to do more, maybe be become a radio presenter or maybe one day Prime Minister!”

Chair of the Judging Panel and Headmaster Mark Dixon said “I was blown away by the quality of the speaking I heard today. All the speakers were great and choosing the category winners was a real challenge. As a school we focus on the whole person, not just pupils’ academic or sporting progress, and this is good example of how we encourage pupils to develop valuable skills which will help them later in life. This has been a great success and I hope it will become a wider annual event.”


25th March 2019

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