“Vinehall Speaks” finalists dazzled audience with sparkling speeches

“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”
So declared Gerald R Ford, the 38th President of the United States.  Last Friday, the Year 7 and 8 Finalists in our “Vinehall Speaks” public speaking competition, organised by Mary Alderson (our Head of Drama) clearly demonstrated this ability.

The Finals were judged by Matthew van Grutten, founder of the Flinch Group (a specialist negotiations and communications skills training company) who had delivered public speaking training to the whole of Year 7 and 8 a few weeks before.

The Finalists, who spoke in the Chaplin Theatre (to an audience which included parents, pupils and teachers) were Kitty R-R; Honor G, Olivia S and Francesca F; Billy M and Noah G; Chaya L; Sofia E; Sebastian P, Billy C, Lucas M and Dexter B; Joe P, Isak S-D, Leo A and Ollie B; Lara S and Willow A; and Honor F.

Matt van Grutten stated that the process of picking a winner had been “brutal” as the standard had been “exceptionally high”.  After much deliberation, he announced two joint winners: Sophia E (7A) with her charming speech on dinosaurs and Kitty R-R (7B) with her impassioned speech on 5G and the perils of mobile technology.  Honor Fox (7B) was also commended for her strong speech on “Why you should become a vegetarian”.

Matt was delighted that all the children had included strong introductions, had maintained eye contact with the audience and had spoken with passion on their topics, which ranged from “Why animal testing should be banned in the United States?” to “The dangers of smoking and vaping”.

Paul Borrows, Vinehall’s Assistant Head Academic, listened to the speeches and indeed was quoted as an authority figure in one of the speeches, on the topic “Is graffiti art?”   It seems fitting to include a quote from Mr Borrows following the event.  He states: “Without exception, the children spoke with confidence and articulated their ideas coherently and convincingly.  It was a pleasure to listen to them and all of the finalists should be proud of what they achieved.”

Emily Platt