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York Civic Trust Speaking Competition


Congratulations to Year 9 pupils Amelia and Katie who were announced as winners of the York Civic Trust Speaking Competition 2022, last night.  

The highly anticipated annual competition welcomes participants from 12 local senior schools to submit impassioned speeches surrounding a variety of contentious and complex issues. Previous topics have been targeted towards a local demographic, and, how residents specifically in the York area would be affected. This year, however, the five options covered a widespread, global theme in keeping with recent world issues. 

Titles for discussion included; the amazon rainforest, carbon emissions, and the effects and repercussions of the Covid pandemic. Amelia and Katie chose to answer the question, ‘With the Queen’s statue recently being installed on the Minster front – who else deserves their statue in York?’  

The girls began preparations for their speech shortly after the half-term break, allowing them time to fully research who they felt deserving of a statue in the city. Reflecting on why they chose this question, Katie said, “We felt like we had a lot to talk about and we could really make it funny. You can’t really joke about the amazon rainforest being cut down, so we felt it was the best topic to choose.” Amelia echoed her sentiments, adding “The Queen’s statue has only just been unveiled too, so it was relevant to us, and we knew what we wanted to say.” 

On the evening of the competition, Amelia and Katie debated their arguments for installing a statue of Joseph Rowntree Vs Walter De Grey – two prominent figures in York history. Debating in favour of York chocolatier, Joseph Rowntree, Amelia incorporated chocolate props into her speech, with the result of the debate ultimately left in the hands of the audience.  

In a unanimous feat, Joseph Rowntree was deemed the worthiest of the two – although both girls clearly fought with conviction as they were voted the winning team.  

As this was Katie’s first time debating and Amelia’s second debating competition, both girls were not expecting to win and were grateful to have the opportunity to improve their skills.  

“It was a lovely evening; it wasn’t calm, but it was really nice, and it was not that serious, so we were able to relax.” – Katie  

I felt it was a great opportunity – you don’t get to speak in front of a lot of people all the time so I thought it would be a good thing to do” – Katie  

“It was really cool, we got to chat with the other schools too which was good.” – Amelia 

“The girls worked so hard in preparation for the competition, and it was amazing to see their efforts recognised by the York Civic Trust. The experience has given them some amazing skills and memories which will last a lifetime.” Mr Dawson, Head of English and Drama at The Mount School

The pupils continued celebrating their amazing achievement this morning as they were invited along to be interviewed by BBC Radio York. 

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