Speaking from the Heart!

Pupils from St Bernard’s Preparatory school in Slough and St Mary’s RC Primary in Cookham gathered together this afternoon to take part in the final of this summer’s CAFOD Primary Public Speaking Competition.

The six finalists from both schools gave their impassioned speeches on ‘Why Fairtrade is important’ to a lovely Year 5 audience and a panel of judges which included Claire Samber (School Governor at St Mary’s), Canon O’Driscoll from Holy Family parish in Slough and Mgr McGrath from St Joseph’s in Maidenhead.

Each of the students had researched the subject and written their own 2-3 minute talks which they then delivered this afternoon with great gusto!

They all talked about the need to think about the people behind the products we buy.  As one speaker put it, when we buy something we should ask ourselves ‘how might it affect the producer?’

Fairtrade, they told us ‘was a lifesaver’ and by providing a better deal for producers, has the power to ‘make a fairer tomorrow.’  It ‘gives farmers a future’ and helps ‘families; families just like ours.’

Our aim from this competition was to inspire each pupil to speak out about issues they care about.  One speaker told the audience, ‘I know I have every right in this world to make a big difference’ and another talked about the ‘need to speak out.’ Powerful stuff!   They all spoke out so confidently and clearly; we hope this is just the start of each pupil’s public speaking life and that they go on to speak out in their local communities!

After the talks, the judges commented on how impressed they were with the ‘enthusiasm and knowledge of everyone.’

CAFOD, Father Kevin told Year 5, was ‘a jewel of our church’ and an agency that can sometimes inspire people to do things they never thought they would be able to do!  He himself had undertaken a half marathon in aid of CAFOD!  He told us that he’d originally told parishioners that he would run the thirteen miles if 20 people signed up to run– only to find that this had inspired 50 people to join up.  Suddenly he found himself running!

Overall, the judges said they had thoroughly enjoyed listening to each speaker and it was very difficult indeed to pick a winner and a runner up.

But decisions had to be made and we are delighted to announce that the first prize was won by St Bernard’s and the runner up was a pupil from St Mary’s.  The other finalists were given well deserved ‘Highly Commended’ certificates for their fantastic talks.   Well done everyone!

Afterwards over orange juice and biscuits, I asked the winner how she felt;

‘I didn’t expect to win. In fact I never thought I’d win.  I get butterflies in my tummy but when I start talking I get loads of confidence from somewhere. I would encourage everyone to do it as I get nervous too.  It was a tough competition. Everyone did really well.’

Our thanks go to all the pupils who wrote talks and took part in the competition over the last few weeks. A special thanks goes to Mrs Laycock for providing the prizes and organising today so well with our star volunteer Sharon Westby. Thank you too to Mrs Oke, Mrs Oliver and Mrs Meaney and thank you to all the parents who have listened to their children practise their talks (many times!) and given them their whole hearted support.  Thank you all!

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