WEST Berkshire schoolchildren went head to head in putting their debating skills to the test.
Three schools, eight teams and 24 of West Berkshire’s brightest young speakers competed in the first round of Rotary’s Youth Speaks Competition, hosted by Mary Hare School.
Thatcham Rotary Club organised the event, which is designed to support and encourage the development of effective communication skills in young people.
The subjects were wide and varied and the club said the three adjudicators had a difficult task.
The winners of the intermediate section 11 to 13 years were Kennet School, comprising Ben Emmons, Hasan Shahzad and Katie Dobbins whose topic was ‘Soft Drinks, a life threatening issue?’.
The winners of the senior section 14 to 17 years were Mary Hare School A team, comprising William Hobbs, Andrew Harris and Andrew McWhinney.
Their subject was ‘PC’, which the club said was a very cogent side swipe at the rules of the competition.
The Lilia Knight Award went to Jessica Clark for being an outstanding contributor in her role as chairperson of the Mary Hare Team B.
Mrs Knight was an educationalist and Spanish teacher with close ties to the club.
Rotarian Frank Quinn said that parents and staff filled the Arlington Arts Centre theatre, making a very enjoyable evening – if a little stressful – for all those involved.
Head judge Sarah Lyon rounded the event off by congratulating pupils and staff for continuing to improve the quality of their presentations.
The winners will now go through to the zone finals early in the new year.