Pupils of Catholic Schools in the North West and North East of England, along with parents and peers, teachers and headteachers, gathered to put their public speaking skills to the test. The contestants were a credit to their schools and their families, as they displayed their ability to plan and deliver a four-minute talk on their chosen subject.
The contestants showed great courage to perform in front of a live audience and to be judged by a professional and highly experienced panel, made up of: Brendan Leer, a qualified engineer and serving Provincial Director of the Catenian Association from 2015 – 2021, Corina Dias a senior HR professional, currently leading a team of HR advisors within Local Government Education and Social Care and John Thompson a lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work at Northumbria University.
Clare Aspray, Head girl at Sacred Heart Catholic High School, argued convincingly and with great erudition why we should ‘Close the Foodbanks’. Clare movingly told her listeners why food poverty should be a thing of the past, by relating her own powerful emotions and experience of her mother’s devotion to volunteering. Personalising the experience and imparting perceptive knowledge on the subject she took away the First Prize, the Bishop Augustine Harris Trophy, which is presented to Post 16 pupils.
Congratulations to Clare who has now won the equivalent of the Triple Crown, in the Provincial Public Speaking Contest as she has previously won the Bishop Ambrose Griffiths Trophy, awarded to Key Stage 3 pupils, the Thomas Clifford Trophy, awarded to Key Stage 4 pupils and now the Bishop Augustine Harris trophy. Clare is certainly someone to look out for in the future, her faultless eloquence and passion keep audiences captivated. Clare plans to read Theology at Cambridge.