youth speaks senior winners brigidine

Youth Speaks District 1090 Zone Final Winners

I believe that being a good orator is worth a fist full of “O” levels… if you can speak & have a pocket full of “A” levels, all the better.

I first came across Youth Speaks when my daughter took part in her local heat. Her presentation brought more than a single tear to my eye and her special mention by the judges reinforced by bias to a huge lump in my throat!

The following year I joined my local Rotary Club and I have been managing the club Youth Speaks project for the last 2 years and this year put my hand up to manage the next round, the Zone Final. The winning teams will move on to the District Final in March and with any luck, the UK Finals on the 28th April 2013 at The University of Hull.


This year’s Zone Finalist for the Intermediate section were St Mary’s School representing Ascot, Swakeleys Girls School representing Elthorne-Hillingdon, The Abbey School representing Loddon Vale & Reading Maiden Erlegh, Herschel Grammar representing Slough, and St Edward’s Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School representing Windsor & Eton.

Our judges were Martin Denny, Director of Windsor Festival, Dr Owen Gower, Director of Cumberland Lodge and Paul Lock, a Trustee of various local charities.

Martin congratulated each of the team on the excellence of their talks. Comparing them encouragingly to the professional authors he meets in his management and hosting of Windsor Festival, high praise in deed.

youth speaks intermediate winners herschell grammar slough
Intermediate Winners: (L-R) Wahab Mahmood, Damayanti Chatterjee, Sabrina Aulak from Herschel Grammar School representing Slough Rotary Club with judge Martin Denny, Director of Windsor Festival.

This year’s winning team, Herschel Grammar gave a very thought provoking talk on “Do we need to arm our police?” Sabrina Aulak as chair laid the scene. Damayanti Chatterjee maturely painted different pictures to allow us to consider the various angles on the subject, Panorama could benefit from her thought process. Wahab Mahmood rounded things off and as a team, they left the audience with serious food for thought.

The prize for Best Speaker went to Enya Dodson from The Abbey School, Reading who asked “Are children growing up too fast?” I know I am! Unfortunately Enya had to leave before the prize giving and so no photo.


St Mary’s School represented Ascot, Harefield Academy represented Elthorne-Hillingdon, St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School represented Slough and Brigidine School represented Windsor & Eton.

Our judges were Ian MacFadyen OBE, Constable & Governor of Windsor Castle, Simon King, Teacher at Trevelyan Middle School and Kevin Thomson, CEO & Chief Excitement Officer at Ways of Work Wellbeing.

youth speaks senior winners brigidine
Senior Winners (R-L): Keira Green, Alycia Lewis & Maleeha Mir from Brigidine School representing Windsor & Eton with Ian MacFadyen OBE Constable & Governor of Windsor Castle.

Brigidine won the day with a talk on “When the Body Says “No” : Parkinson’s Disease”. Maleeha Mir chaired proceedings, Keira Green gave a very heart felt talk on how her uncle kept himself to himself for many years, hiding the condition as best he could. Alycia Lewis rounded things of nicely with a vote of thanks and Brigidine won through again, for the second year on the trot.

Ian congratulated the teams on their ability to stand up in front of so many people and present so eloquently and announced Kelsey Toner the Best Speaker after stalling and re-engaging so professionally with the audience on the very emotive subject of “The “glass ceiling” has generally vanished… but does equality really and truly exist between men and women in the workplace?”

youth speaks senior best speaker kelsey toner
Winner of the senior competitions Best Speaker prize, Kelsey Toner of Harefield Academy representing Elthorne-Hillingdon with with Ian MacFadyen OBE Constable & Governor of Windsor Castle.

Another great experience for all present. Listening to young people enthuse an audience with their passion for the subjects they talk about is so reassuring for their future prosperity. Having the ability to be able to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others is the greatest skill you can posses.

Thank you to all our fellow Rotary Clubs for making this event possible and to St Edward’s Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School for hosting the event.

See you all at the next round…

Jon Davey

One thought on “Youth Speaks District 1090 Zone Final Winners

  1. Thanks a lot to the Rotary Clubs of our locality for organising some thoroughly enjoyable evenings of public speaking via Youth Speaks. My daughter took part and her team were the winners in the zone final in the intermediate group; its a big pity that the cups they are holding in the picture above were taken away after the picture was taken and never came back their way again!!


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