Seventy-eight young people actively participated in four heats of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition for school years 9-11 organised by the Colchester branch across Essex. Twenty-four performed a second time by appearing at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, in February 2019 at the local final, which was managed in two divisions.
The event was compered by organiser, James Scruby, who introduced the judges, BBC political journalist, Charlotte Rose, primary school public speaking founder, Nicky Browne, and branch chair, Brian Cooke.
For the northern area, the team representing King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford (Team 1), were adjudged the winners and comprised chair, Krish Singh, questioner, Sebin Tomy and speaker, Prajwal Pandey, who expounded on the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
The winning team for the southern area was from The Eastwood School, Southend-on-sea (Team 1), and was made up of Caitlin Vernon, Jochebel Nyamayaro and Uzoamaka Achebe, who debated the need for a new national anthem.
The adjudicators named Sam Jago of Thorpe Hall School, Southend-on-sea, as best chair across both divisions with Eleanor Carmel of Colchester County High School for Girls as best questioner. The award for best speaker overall was given to Kit Morley-Jacob of Felsted School (Team 1), who addressed the topic of public figures’ private lives, while an additional prize was awarded to Miles Black, the speaker from Colchester Royal Grammar School (Team 2).
Other schools challenging were Westcliff High School for Boys and The Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls, Romford (Team 2).
Grateful thanks were expressed to Anglia Ruskin University for providing an excellent auditorium free of charge and welcoming young people to a site of entrepreneurial higher education.