I was fortunate enough to attend the “Youth speaks” competition held this year at Battle Abbey School. The event was very well organised by Battle and Bexhill Rotary Club and a capacity audience was treated to a marvellous evening of public speaking by youngsters from the Battle and Bexhill areas.
The evening began with presentations from Intermediate Teams in the age group 11 to 13 years. An impassioned presentation by Millie Bulgin from Claverham Community College on “The Dangers of Virtual Violence” was not only thought provoking but it also reminded the audience of the dangers that lurk in the computer screen. Bexhill High School and St. Richards Catholic College in the senior competition also talked with great passion about the problems presented by the internet and by robots.
In the senior class, age group 14 to 17 years, Decoding the Gender Divide was a clever and amusing presentation on the differences, supposed and otherwise, between boys and girls.
Battle Abbey School followed with “You Just Don’t Get It” and the presentation, and subsequent vote of thanks from Rachael Dixon, meant that we probably went some way to understanding the problem of “getting it”.
I came away from an enthralling evening thinking not that my faith in human nature had been revived but that it had been confirmed.
It is important not to forget the guest team from De Lage Waard School in Holland. This team spoke in almost perfect and colloquial English on the “ Power of Music” which made me realise that music indeed is a powerful medium.
The quality of the speeches was extraordinarily high and as one speaker remarked to me: ” I had never done public speaking before and was terrified of facing such a large audience. However, once I began to speak my fears disappeared”.
That just about sums up the quality and stature of many of our school children today and we are surely fortunate in 1066 Country to have such excellent schools and children who clearly appreciate what they are being taught.