Follow that BAFTA! Brooksbank Students Dazzle with their Youth Speaks Speeches

It may be the season for glittering speeches – Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Oscars – however, students at the Brooksbank gave their own dazzling performances at the in-house round of the Youth Speaks competition.

Speaking in public (and being judged in the process), might be many people’s idea of a worst nightmare, but twelve brave Brooksbank students proved that it can be a confidence-boosting experience, and an extremely valuable skill to learn.

On Thursday 7th February, four teams spoke superbly, as proud family, English Department staff and Mrs Shutter and Mr McCallion watched on.  The event, organised by the Elland Rotary Club, has been running at the school for many years, thanks to a former Governor, Norman Kemp, who sadly passed away last summer.  The standard of this year’s entries was a fitting tribute to him.

Previously, Brooksbank have produced National Champions, with a team which included current Head Girl, Evie Sutcliffe.  With such an inspiring example to follow, twelve students formed teams to speak on topics close to their hearts.

Up first, in the Intermediate age group, were Molly Mills, Isla Holman and Grace Hirst.  They gave an incredibly polished, professional performance on ‘To What Extent Do Your Choices Affect Your Future?’  They were followed by an energetic, enthusiastic Year 7 team, consisting of Hayden Connett, Joe Robinson and Vinny Read, using humour to communicate their concerns on global warming, with their ‘Green Warriors on a Mission’ talk.

In the Senior category, Sam Gargett, Noah Etherington and Annabelle Walker, delivered a moving and passionate talk on the prejudices facing transgender people in the world today: ‘Trans Taboo’.  Finally, Matthew Wragg, Lillie Belle Hunter and James Bushnell (all Year 10), addressed the emotive topic of the rise of mental health issues in teenagers, entitled ‘Teenage Mental Health: Are We All Just a Generation of Snowflakes?’ Their speech had structure and skill.

Judging these fantastic performances was a difficult task; reflected by the incredibly close scores.  The winners in the Intermediate group were the ‘Green Warriors’, Hayden, Joe and Vinnie, whilst in the Senior category, ‘Generation Snowflakes’ Matthew, Lillie Belle and James triumphed.

Both teams will go on to represent Brooksbank in the Regional Finals, which take place in Leeds on Thursday, 7th March. There, they will meet opponents from Bradford Grammar, Ermysted’s and The Grammar School at Leeds.  We wish both teams the best of luck.  But who needs luck, when, as Evie and her teammates have proved, Brooksbank are more than capable of producing champions!