Leamington and Warwick schoolchildren speak out

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Pupils at Myton School took to a public platform to urge older people to take off their “rose-tinted time-travelling spectacles” and focus more closely on how things were better now than they’d ever been.

This was the thrust of the winning argument put forward by Josh Cleaver and Agatha Hunt, aged 17, and Simran Jhutti, aged 16, as they triumphed in the senior section of the annual Youth Speaks competition.

Meanwhile, the intermediate winners in this first round of what will develop into a nation-wide public speaking competition was won by a team from Kingsley School in Leamington.

Twelve-year-olds Georgia Morgan and Olivia Griffiths, along with 13-year-old Sian Hooper, decided to outline the way language evolves and changes over the years.

The trio told their audience how words like “bully” had actually once meant “sweetheart” while the 21st century meaning of gay had changed beyond recognition.

Some 24 youngsters in teams from Myton, Warwick, King’s High, Aylesford, Kingsley and Princethorpe entered the first leg of the speaking competition organised nationally by Rotarians and locally by members of the Warwick, Warwick Avon, and Southam 2000 clubs.

The runners-up were pupils from Aylesford School in the senior section and Warwick School in the intermediate.

One of the judging panel, Alan Bailey said: “It takes self-confidence to put yourself on a platform at the age of 13 and present a case to an audience of total strangers.

“All those who performed can be proud of the progress they made and the way they had their listeners engrossed.”

Myton teacher Nicholas Binge said: “In our presentation Josh discussed how we as a society have a tendency to yearn for yesteryear and look upon the present with disdain.

“Agatha expanded on this by arguing that it was simply a trick of the mind - things are better now than they have ever been and the team together explored why it is we cling to nostalgic notions of the past.”

Kingsley head of English Anthea Hamilton said: “The girls have been studying the way in which language has changed over the centuries and decided to use this as the topic for their presentation.”

The winners were presented with book tokens by Warwick mayor Moira-Ann Grainger and Southam 2000 Rotary Club vice-president Robin Cooter. They now go forward to compete in the regional rounds on March 7.