Trio talk their way to the top

Public speaking trophy winners Tristan Selden, Joshua Bailey and Calum Thomson from KEVI High School.
Public speaking trophy winners Tristan Selden, Joshua Bailey and Calum Thomson from KEVI High School.
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LONDON’S calling for a trio of students at Morpeth’s high school, thanks to some witty words and probing questions.

Calum Thomson, Joshua Bailey and Tristan Selden won the Northern Final of the English Speaking Union (ESU) Schools Public Speaking Competition.

Joshua gave a speech saying why he disagreed with the notion that art imitates life, Tristan was a questioner for another school’s speech and Calum was in the Chair to introduce and summarise Joshua’s talk.

After coming through this event, held in The Grammar School at Leeds, the King Edward VI School team will compete in the national final on Saturday, May 7, at Goodenough College, London.

“I enjoyed putting the speech together and I added some humour with references to cartoons Tom and Jerry and Itchy and Scratchy, as well as TV show Midsomer Murders,” said Year 11 student Joshua.

“Our school provides us with many opportunities to do some public speaking and debating and this really helped us to win the competition.”

Tristan, who is in Year 10, said: “I only found out which speech I would be questioning on the day, so I had to be spontaneous with my queries and they needed to get the speaker to expand upon points made in the speech.

“We were thrilled to be named winners of the competition and we’re already looking forward to the final.”

Year 11 student Calum added: “The speech and my introduction and summary had to be 14 minutes long so I had to make sure everything went to time.

“It was great for a state school to win the event and we are the only one taking part in the national final.”

Public speaking and debate have a strong tradition at the school.

This year alone teams have qualified for the national final of the International College of Young Debaters Competition and the regional final of the Cambridge Union Debating Competition and the ESU Mace Competition.

Head of English Liam Murtagh said: “The ESU schools contests are very prestigious events and are normally the preserve of independent schools.

“We are delighted that the name of King Edward VI High School is successful at such a level.”