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Isabelle and Edith’s Podium Place in York Civic Trust Competition


Isabelle and Edith, both in Year 6 were announced second place winners in the annual York Civic Trust Public Speaking Competition held this week.

Participants were tasked with choosing a point of discussion to present in front of a panel of judges with a total of eight primary schools in the region taking part. Influenced by the disruption to previous years competitions, the selection of topics this year followed a particular theme: 

  • What five objects would you put in a time capsule representing York 2022, to be opened some time in the distant future? 
  • After Covid, who needs to go into school or work? 
  • Are all these cycle lanes in York a help or a hindrance? 
  • With the Queen’s statue being put on the Minster front, who else should have their statue in York? 
  • Does York need the proposed new Roman Museum in Rougier street? 
  • Covid was bad, but the plague was much worse. 

Both Isabelle and Edith were keen to discuss something relevant to York and in true Mount girl fashion, they elected to present their argument for another strong, female role model to be honoured in the city centre. 

“We had lots of options and we chose the topicWith the Queen’s statue being put on the Minster front, who else should have their statue in York?’ – Edith 

We had to choose a person who we thought would be good to have their statue here. We chose Annie Seymour Pearson who was a suffragette, and we wrote a speech, but we gave it a bit of humour and it was more like a conversation.” – Isabelle 

Explaining their thought process behind the decision and the effort the girls put in to preparing, Edith added, “We wanted to do someone who was associated with York and Annie Seymour Pearson actually lived in York. We did not know much about her before, so we had to do a lot of research.”  

During the evening, participants presented to a group of experienced educationalists, local journalists, and public figures who had the difficult decision of electing a winner. After presenting early in the competition, the girls were able to sit back and enjoy the remaining entries. As the winners were announced, the girls were delighted with their silver result and even more so with their fantastic prize.

“We received a letter congratulating us and as a way of saying thank you we received a voucher for Fairfax House and a ticket to go as a family. My mum has always wanted to go so she is really happy.” – Isabelle 

“Last time we did it The Mount girls came second as well so we are even stevens!” – Isabelle 

“We got a photo with the Lord Mayor too which was exciting and we met the Lord Mayoress” – Isabelle 

You can read Isabelle and Edith’s speech in full here

Representatives from York Civic Trust were so impressed with the girls thought-provoking debate that they are now considering the idea and they are going to look into how they can recognise Annie Seymour Pearson on Coney Street –  with the possibility of a blue plaque positioned there in her honour.


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