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St John Lloyd teams win debating contest

Enjoying the event: The audience at the debate
Enjoying the event: The audience at the debate
Enjoying the event: The audience at the debate

SHOULD Britain accept migrants from Syria? Is there a place for school uniform in 21st Century education? Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

These were among the topics debated in the annual Llanelli Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition held at Llanelli Town Hall.

“The competitors were wonderful ambassadors for their schools and parents,” the chairman of the judging panel Lt Colonel David Mathias said.

“The quality of the arguments presented was outstanding. The pupils had prepared well, done their research and did well coping with the demands of speaking in a public arena.

“It was also very impressive to see the way the children handled the questions on their chosen topics. It’s not easy thinking on your feet and they did that admirably.”

The competition saw the teams from St John Lloyd School in Llanelli win both the senior and intermediate categories.

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Both teams will now progress to the next round of the Rotary competition – an area final against Bishop Gore School in Swansea. The winners have the opportunity of progressing all the way to national UK finals.

The competition attracted entries from Glanymor, Ysgol y Strade, St John Lloyd, Coedcae and Brynwgyn schools.

Lt Col Mathias said: “As we have come to expect on an annual basis, the standard in the competition was exceptionally high and the competitors made the judging task a very difficult one.”

Llanelli Rotary Club president Susan Roberts explained that the Youth Speaks event offered an opportunity for Llanelli pupils to gain experience of speaking on a public platform.

She said: “It allows young people to form ideas on significant subjects and learn high standards of expression, presentation and appearance. It also gives pupils the experience of accepting impartial assessments and constructive criticism.”

The competition was run to a national Rotary format which included a question from the floor. The main speaker for each team faced the daunting task of fielding an unrehearsed question from Rotarian Past President JC Williams MBE.

Results:

Best Intermediate Team: St John Lloyd (who debated ‘is there a place for school uniform in 21st century education?’). Team members – Chair Sam Hartnoll, Speaker Rosie Bayliss, Vote of thanks proposer Mickey Williams.

Best Chair: Millie Senchal, Coedcae.

Best Speaker: Brooke James, Bryngwyn.

Best Proposer of Vote of Thanks: Sioned Williams, Ysgol y Strade.

Best Senior Team: St John Lloyd (who debated ‘Should Britain accept migrants from Syria?’). Team members – Chair Grace Francis, Speaker JosephToft, Vote of thanks proposer Hannah Short.

Best Chair: Grace Francis, St John Lloyd.

Best Speaker: Joseph Toft, St John Lloyd.

Best Proposer of Vote of Thanks: Vincent Howells, Ysgol y Strade.

The judging panel was: Lt Colonel David Mathias DL (chair), Ann Carlton, Pembrey-based journalist and former Government Opposition political advisor, and the Rev Howard Jones, former teacher and ordained chaplain and one of the stars of Llanelli’s Phoenix Theatre group.

The MC for the evening was Rotarian Past President Robert Lloyd and the timekeeper was Llanelli Rotary President Elect Mark Evans.

The event was organised by a team led by Rotarian Dr Kevin Jones. Prizes were handed out by Llanelli Rotary Club President Susan Roberts.

Llanelli Rotary organises many youth competitions, including Youth Speaks, Young Chef, Young Musician, Young Citizen, Young Photographer and Young Writer.

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