Caistor students to speak out for county

The Caistor team of Vignesh Kamath, Toby Barnett and Kamya Ghandhi   will represent Lincolnshire
The Caistor team of Vignesh Kamath, Toby Barnett and Kamya Ghandhi will represent Lincolnshire

Students from Caistor have produced some top topical talking to win through and represent the county in a national competition.

The trio from Caistor Grammar School battled five other teams to win the prestigious English Speaking Union-Churchill Public Speaking Competition’s Lincoln heat, hosted by Lincoln University.

Caistor Grammar - whose 2018 team was placed second in the National Final - were joined by last year’s county runners-up Queen Elizabeth’s High School, Gainsborough, as well as Market Rasen’s De Aston School, Lincoln Minster School, and competition first-timers The Priory Pembroke Academy, Cherry Willingham.

Tackling controversial and complex issues, including veganism, LGBT rights, sexual equality, the power of the media, gun ownership, individual awards were spread across all the schools competing and highlighted the level of talent

Queen Elizabeth High’s Arwen Williams won best Speaker, De Aston’s Alicia Meredith won best Questioner, and The Pembroke Priory’s Hannah Fox won best Chair, with a special award for outstanding performance to Amaya Clarke from Lincoln Minster.

Overall, it was the Caistor team of Vignesh Kamath, Toby Barnett and Kamya Ghandhi - all from Year 11 - who won through and will now go on to represent the county at the upcoming regional finals.

Caistor Grammar School Headmaster, Alistair Hopkins said: “I’m delighted that Vignesh, Toby and Kamya have been recognised for their superb speaking skills.

“It was a tough, close competition, but thanks to their determination and the inspirational coaching from Mr McTernan, Caistor has won the county stage for the third year running.

“The team is already practising for the regional final in Leeds next month.”

The expert judging panel gave helpful feedback and tips both to the group and one-on-one to ensure participants could take valuable lessons from taking part, and improve their public speaking skills even further.

The ESU Lincolnshire’s Chairman, Sir Michael Graydon said: “This was the best competition we’ve hosted yet.

“Students came incredibly well prepared, and with a real understanding of the value of listening and understanding, as well as speaking and preparing good arguments.

“It was particularly enjoyable to see how respectful students were of each other’s performances.

“We hope they will take away some really valuable tips on how to perform well in a public speaking environment, and on how to structure their arguments even more effectively.”

The Regional Final will be held on March 2 in Leeds, and the National Final will be held on April 27 in Cambridge.