Debate Club’s fourth annual Speak Out competition was held in October. Open to all lower sixth students, it took as its theme the seven values of Mary Ward. From the initial entry, a group of twelve was invited to give a talk to an audience of families and friends.
One of the judges, Margaret Hutchinson from Manchester Breakfast Rotary, observed that: “It was an excellent evening with the students displaying effectively the seven Mary Ward values, through the content of their speeches. We felt that we had been presented with speeches on most profound topics, passionately delivered, and resonating with the audience. The speakers were often brave enough to share personal stories and anecdotes that brought validity and relevance to the speeches being delivered.”
The judges noted particularly the clever use of irony and humour to project key messages, and felt that it was a very closely run competition, with excellence shown throughout. The overall winner was Ashley Jose, who spoke on the theme of Justice, relating it to the plight of refugees. Runners up were Faryal Aqa, who chose Internationality as her value, and Alice Odubiyi, who spoke on Freedom.
Margaret Hutchinson summed up the evening in the following terms: “I was moved by the depth of content of each contribution and the way the speakers tackled some of the most serious issues of our time with confidence and humour. I came away having had some of my own convictions challenged: disturbing, but wonderful at the same time.”