Soroptimists International held its 35th Annual Youth Public Speaking Competition in Hillsborough recently, sponsored by Diamond Recruitment Group.
Following regional heats across Northern Ireland, fourteen Year 12 and Year 13 girls were selected for the final, held at the Hillsborough Village Centre. Siun Palmer, student at St. Patrick’s Academy, was a finalist representing the Dungannon area, delivering her speech on “Is the growth in human population compatible with environmental sustainability?”
Following six minute prepared speeches and two minute extempore speeches in front of an audience of 150 people, the adjudication panel awarded the top prize to Beth Crane, representing Wallace High School and the Lisburn region. In addition to a £200 bursary provided by Diamond Recruitment, Beth has been invited to deliver her speech on the purpose of education to the Joint North/South Soroptimists Conference on 19 May in Derry/Londonderry.
Mary McKinney, Regional President for the Soroptimists, said: “Under the Soroptimist aim of ‘Educating to Lead’, this competition enables girls to practise their communication skills and develop their confidence in public speaking. With finalists researching topics and delivering their speeches to an audience of over 150 people, the girls participating had an opportunity to enhance their skills.”
Maureen Maguire, Regional Convenor for the competition, said: “It is extremely important for young women to be able to speak and communicate effectively, as it is widely recognise that the art of communication is the Language of Leadership. With this being the 35th year of the competition, the standard of the girls’ speeches continues to rise, year on year, with finalists this year being no exception.”
Tina McKenzie, Group Managing Director for Diamond Recruitment and adjudicator for the competition, said: “With employers increasingly focused on the importance of communication skills in the workplace, Diamond Recruitment was delighted to sponsor such an important event for the local community. With finalists presenting logical, well-argued and passionate speeches and showing the resilience necessary to present in front of such a large audience, they have enhanced their employability and are well set to bring these strong transferable skills to an employer of choice in the future.”