At Kirkcudbright Academy, on the evening of 17th November, a large audience much enjoyed the informative and entertaining talks from the nine pupils who participated in the Youth Speaks Competition sponsored on an annual basis by the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright.

The competition dates back to 1982 and on this occasion the topics once again covered a wide range of interests, including on ‘How to speak to your Dog’; on ‘Home Schooling’; and on ‘Mental Health’.   The various talks demonstrated the knowledge, enthusiasm and the ability of all of those who took part.

The panel of judges drawn from the Academy (Miss Tess Donald), the Community (Mrs Lesley Garbutt), and the Rotary Club (Mr Mike Duguid) most skilfully discharged their duty with the chair person announcing the winners from the Junior School as 1st – Fynn Ross; 2nd – Isla Ginnelly; and, 3rd – Stephen Dale-Sunley ( Main Image), with those from the Senior School being 1st – Magnus Riley; 2nd – Laura Baillie; and, 3rd – Lilly McLaughlin-Clear.  

Kay Nicolas was recognised by the judges in their awarding a Certificate to her as the ‘Most Promising’ speakerThe prizes were presented by Rotary President, Chris Ingram, and included a decorative Quaich (for the winner of the junior section) and the Jim Scott Memorial Trophy (for the winner of the senior section).    In his closing remarks MC for the event, Gavin Scott, observed that the competition had been a great success and thanked the English Department of the Academy for supporting and encouraging all of the pupils who had been involved.

Many of the pupils were inspired by literature that they have previously studied at the Academy and each student spoke about issues that define our modern world on which they feel strongly, some speaking on a very personal level indeed.

The Principal Teacher of English, Mr Davies, explained: “the pupils wrote the speeches themselves and worked hard to prepare for the evening at home.  Everyone very much enjoyed what the pupils had to say and we were all struck with the confidence of delivery.  Each one them is an excellent role model for their peers as it takes a lot to speak to such a large audience.” Mr Davies went on to thank the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright for their support of this important event seen as a cornerstone of the school calendar.

Following the success of Youth Speaks, the Rotary Club have launched their Young Writers 500 word competition.  Every pupils in S1-S6 is encouraged to participate. 

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