This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 10/04/2018.
Croydon Soroptimist International’s public speaking competition helps girls to be Loud And Proud
The Loud and Proud public speaking competition for year 6 girls, proudly support by Soroptimist International Croydon and District, took place in Croydon Town Hall on Thursday 2nd March. It was held to commemorate International Women’s Day 2018 and the 100th anniversary of the first stage of female suffrage in the United Kingdom – the granting of the voting to property-owning women over the age of thirty in 1918.
With Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones in attendance, the competition’s judges were Soroptimist Emma Patel, Reginald Larry-Cold, CEO of Wheels 4 Sure, Donna Fraser, a Croydon Olympic athlete, Commonwealth Games World and European Championships medallist, the Citizen‘s general manager Tom Black and Porsha Robinson, Youth Engagement Leader at Croydon Council.
Each ten or eleven-year-old competitor chose a subject from a list of substantial and thought-provoking topics: image at the expense of nutrition; where is the equality in sport?; maths and the modern girl; financial awareness – more than just pocket money? and overseas aid – does it help those who really need it? Having had the pleasure of hearing speeches from year 6 students over several years, I can wholeheartedly confirm that the standards in 2018 remained as high as ever.
The audience was treated to passionate speeches and strong opinions
The main aim of the competition, organised and presented by Soroptimist International Croydon and District, is to celebrate the art of public speaking and therefore to encourage girls to play a prominent role in public life. Entrants are encouraged to develop their skills in researching their chosen topic, speaking effectively with clarity and building self-confidence.
Finalists from eight Croydon primary schools had the opportunity to present their speeches in the fantastic setting of the council chamber of Croydon town hall. All showed skill, ability, determination and strength of character as they spoke. The audience was treated to some passionate speeches and strong opinions, and the judges certainly had a challenge. In particular the stark inequality in salaries between top male and female athletes was rammed home by those who chose the topic of equality in sport. It is something that judge Donna Fraser, (Croydon medallist at European and commonwealth games and Olympic athlete) was already too well aware of.
Croydon’s mayor, Councillor Toni Letts OBE, awarded the prizes. First place went to Eleanor Martins of St James the Great RC Nursery and Primary School who spoke eloquently on the topic of overseas aid. Second prize was taken by Leila Kirkwood-Ayres from St Peter’s Primary School who spoke on maths and the modern girl, and third place went to Amara Aseidu from Heavers Farm Primary School. The winners received vouchers but all participants also had the opportunity to visit the House of Lords, courtesy of Sarah Jones MP who presented certificates to all the finalists.
Anyone hearing these young girls speak would surely agree that they are definitely not shrinking violets. If they continue to do everything with the energy and enthusiasm that went into the competition, all that I can say is, “look out world, here they come!”.
For more information on the work of Soroptimist International, visit our website.