Five GDST girls made emotionally compelling speeches to an audience of girls, teachers and parents and a panel of judges as they took part in the final of the Chrystall Carter public speaking competition on International Women’s Day.
Sakshi from Sheffield High School, Katie from the Royal High School, Bath, Izzy from Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Jess from Wimbledon High School and Lily from Bromley High School took part in the finals of the competition which has been held since 2001.
The competition was set up in memory of a GDST employee, Chrystall Carter. Her husband, Richard, and two former colleagues, Peter Warren and Colin Ward, attended the finals at Portsmouth High School.
‘I was delighted to be here for the final of the annual prize,’ said Richard Carter. ‘As ever, the standard was outstanding and the quality of the speeches and the handling of the questions are a credit, not only to the girls, but to the GDST for its outstanding quality of education across the UK.’
The five minute speeches ranged from ‘How important is your name?’ to ‘Should we care when people are offended?’. The judges chose Lily from Bromley High School as the winner of this year’s competition for her speech ‘Political correctness has gone too far.’
‘Is it all not just a question of perspective?’ asked Lily in her speech. ‘We have a seesaw situation. On one side those keen to uphold the right to all for free speech and on the other, concerned citizens who seek the recognition that true free speech can cause very real harms.’
Mrs Anne McMeehan Roberts, Chair of the Judges and Chair of Portsmouth High School’s Governing Board said:
‘It has been a spectacular afternoon. The five of you have entertained and informed us and answered such challenging questions. Good communication skills are vital and over time we learn to communicate, then to persuade and question in order to learn. Your speeches have been full of passion and persuasiveness.’
Lily, in receiving her award said:
‘All the girls here deserve this award. I have met four new friends here today and I am so grateful.’
Mrs Yvonne Williams, Head of English at Portsmouth High School added:
‘It has been an astounding afternoon of education and entertainment. It would have been a very difficult task for the judges to split the finalists with such a high quality of speeches.’