Stevenage pupils debate contentious subject of zoos in Rotary Speaks competition

Woolenwick Junior School pupils, who were runners up, with Stevenage mayor Pam Stuart and judge Jane

Woolenwick Junior School pupils, who were runners up, with Stevenage mayor Pam Stuart and judge Janet Hammond. - Credit: Archant

Five teams of pupils from junior schools in the Stevenage area became university lecturers for the day when they took part in the annual Rotary Stevenage Speaks competition.

Rotay Speaks competition winning team from Aston St Mary's Church of England Primary School with may

Rotay Speaks competition winning team from Aston St Mary's Church of England Primary School with mayor of Stevenage, Councillor Pam Stuart. - Credit: Archant

The pupils were invited to the Weston Auditorium at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield to speak on their chosen subjects. The audience included Stevenage mayor Pam Stuart with her consort Tony Turner, and teams from all the competing schools.

Pamela Goodwin, president of the Rotary Club of Stevenage, said: “The Rotary Club of Stevenage always seeks to promote the many talents of young people in the town.

“It bodes well for the future when 10 and eleven-year-olds can work together in teams, research their subject and present it cogently, fairly and confidently from the stage to an audience. My congratulations to them.”

Teams of three took turns to deliver their speeches and points were awarded for delivery, control, process, subject, content and construction.


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Shelagh Mackey of the Stevenage Education Trust, which co-ordinated the event, said: “The young people of Stevenage and surrounding villages never cease to amaze me. They all talked passionately about the chosen topic: ‘Zoos – are they good or bad for animals?’, and had researched and developed their arguments to a degree that any adult would have been proud to present.

“We had a wonderful morning and are very grateful to both the Stevenage Rotary Club and the University of Hertfordshire for their sponsorship of this event.”

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Participating schools were Aston St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Benington C of E Primary School, Giles Junior School, Graveley Primary School and Woolenwick Junior School.

The winning school was Aston St Mary’s, with Woolenwick Juniors as the runners up.

All children were presented with certificates by Mrs Stuart, while the judges were Councillor Joan Lloyd, Janet Hammond and Dr Kadom Shubber.

Alex Lang of the Rotary Club of Stevenage helped co-ordinate the event.

In addition to Stevenage Speaks, The Rotary Club of Stevenage host various competitions for young people each year. These include Young Artist, Young Writer, Young Photographer, and Young Musician. In 2018 it is are looking to introduce a Technology Tournament for junior schools and possibly a Young Choir competition. It is also aiming to introduce RotaKids Clubs – junior Rotary clubs which benefit from mentoring and support – into local schools.

Contact Alex Lang for further details on alex6144@yahoo.co.uk.

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