Portsmouth High hosts semi-finals of GDST public speaking competition

Portsmouth High School recently played host to the semi-finals of the prestigious Chrystall Carter public speaking competition. The annual competition is open to Year 11 girls from GDST schools.

Competitors can speak for up to seven minutes on their allocated topic followed by answering questions from the audience for up to three minutes. The competition was set up in memory of a former GDST employee, to mark her commitment to the girls themselves, her pleasure in their success and her belief in the power of argument.

This semi-final featured stduents from Portsmouth High School, Brighton Girls, Putney High School, Streatham and Clapham High School and Wimbledon High School. The chosen topics varied from ‘Humanity should fear advance in artificial intelligence’ to ‘Young people and mental health: failing a generation.’

The panel of judges consisted of Portsmouth High Chair of Governors, Anne McMeehan Roberts, Ellen Weeks, a speech and drama teacher from the Isle of Wight, and Katie Farnhill a drama and English teacher from Portsmouth.

The winner of the competition was Elizabeth Elliott from Streatham and Clapham High School whose speech ‘The Snowflake Generation: do we really live up to our name?’ was applauded by the judges and the audience.

‘Thank you for entertaining us with well researched and beautifully presented speeches,’ said Mrs Anne McMeehan Roberts. ‘You are all ahead of the curve in terms of life skills as you all have the ability and talent to persuade.’

‘I am thrilled to be chosen to go through to the next round,’ said Elizabeth. ‘I felt I was just having a conversation with my audience and the topic was very relatable to the Year 10s that I was talking to.’

Mrs Yvonne Williams, English Teacher at Portsmouth High School added:

‘The standard was exceptionally high again this year and our audience found all the topics so relevant to their own lives.’

The finals will take place at Notting Hill and Ealing High School on 9 March.