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2016/17 Public Speaking Competition

SI Lurgan heat of the Annual Public Speaking Competition was held on Monday 14 November 2016 at 6.30 p.m. in the Jethro Centre, Flush Place, Lurgan with 11 competitors.  The schools taking part were: Lurgan College:  Portadown College: St Catherine’s College, Armagh and St Ronan’s College, Lurgan.

The winner of the Lurgan Club was Christy Benny, St Catherine’s College, Armagh – “Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego”. (Mahatma Ghandi).

Second Place: Becky Gilmour, Portadown College –  “Living to 100 – good or

Third Place: Megan Hamill, St Catherine’s College, Armagh  –  “Is the growth in human population compatible with environment sustainability?”

The adjudicators were:   Mrs Jennifer Maxwell, (Chair), Mrs Pamela Mawhinney (Soroptimist Member) and Alana Hughes (previous Lurgan and Regional winner of the competition).


  • To encourage girls to play a more prominent part in public life
  • To improve the art of communication
  • To encourage girls to develop the skill to speak effectively and to articulate with clarity
  • To develop self-confidence and personality.


The competition is open to girls who are in Years 12 & 13, and are in full time education in Northern Ireland.   The competition is divided into two sections – Local Area competition and the Northern Ireland Final.

Northern Ireland Final                                                                                                  

The Northern Ireland Final is to be held on Saturday 4th February 2017 in Hillsborough Village Centre, 7 Ballynahinch Rd, Hillsborough, County Down BT26 6AR at 12 noon.


  1. The Winner will receive:
  • The Youth Salver, presented by Oneida Silversmiths Ltd., held for one year and a replica presented by Mrs Margaret McGowan
  • An Award of £200
  • A week-end at the City Hotel, Queens, Quay, Derry/ Londonderry. The winners of the Northern Ireland Final and the Republic of Ireland Final will be given hospitality at the weekend of the North/South Joint Conference from Friday 19th – Sunday 21st May 2017 and will be asked to address the Conference on their chosen topic.
  1. The Runner – up will receive The Betty Hudson Memorial Cup for one year and an Award of £100.
  2. Third place will receive The Margaret Gregg Salver for one year.
  3. Certificates will be awarded at the local and final levels.


Choose ONE TOPIC from the following six:

  1. Where are the limits to individual rights?
  2. “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire” (WB Yeats)
  3. Living to 100 – good or bad?
  4. Is the growth in human population compatible with environment sustainability?
  5. Are young people to-day doomed to be poorer than their


  1. “Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego”. (Mahatma Ghandi).

These six topics have been chosen to represent the areas in which Soroptimist International is involved: Violence and Conflict Resolution; Learning Opportunities; Health and Food Security; Environment Sustainability; Economic Empowerment and Democracy.


Prepared speeches shall not be less than 4 minutes nor exceed 6 minutes.   Finalists will also be expected to speak for a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 2 minutes on a given subject which involves no research.

N.B. This will not apply to local heats


There will be three adjudicators:

  • A Soroptimist member
  • A Public Figure
  • A Speaker of Merit


In allocating marks, Judges will assess speeches under:

CONTENT – 50 marks

Suitability and knowledge of subject, including any research; Quality of material; Relevance of information to subject chosen.


Introduction; Development of subject; Logical arrangement of material; Use of varied vocabulary; Expressiveness of language; Conclusion


Voice Projection; Audibility; Pace, pitch and inflection of voice; Use of rhetorical pause; Use of humour and imagination; Facial expression; Stance; Rapport with audience.

A maximum of 5 marks may be deducted for excessive use of notes or for substantial deviation from the time limit. Microphones will not be used.