Christy Benny, a St Catherine’s College student in Armagh, was a finalist in the Soroptimists International 35th Annual Youth Public Speaking Competition, in Hillsborough recently.
Following regional heats across Northern Ireland, she along with 13 other Year 12 and Year 13 girls were selected for the final, held at the Hillsborough Village Centre. Christy used a Ghandi quote, “Freedom of the press is a special privilege that no country can forego.” to speak on her topic.
Following six minute prepared speeches and two minute extempore speeches in front of an audience of 150 people, the adjudication panel awarded the top prize to Beth Crane, representing Wallace High School and the Lisburn region.
In addition to a £200 bursary provided by Diamond Recruitment, Beth has been invited to deliver her speech on the purpose of education to the Joint North/South Soroptimists Conference on 19 May in Derry/Londonderry.
Mary McKinney, Regional President for the Soroptimists, said: “Under the Soroptimist aim of ‘Educating to Lead’, this competition enables girls to practise their communication skills and develop their confidence in public speaking.
“With finalists researching topics and delivering their speeches to an audience of over 150 people, the girls participating had an opportunity to enhance their skills.”
Maureen Maguire, Regional Convenor for the competition, said: “It is extremely important for young women to be able to speak and communicate effectively, as it is widely recognise that the art of communication is the Language of Leadership. With this being the 35th year of the competition, the standard of the girls’ speeches continues to rise, with finalists this year being no exception.”