Rotary Club of Rochdale

Youth Opportunities & Competitions

Youth Public speaking at Falinge Park High School

The Youth Speaks District heat competition, sponsored by Rochdale Rotary Club, was held at Falinge Park HS on Thursday 24th Jan.2019.  8 high school teams of 3 competed in this nationwide competition run by Rotary International of GB and Ireland

 The audience of over 60 was treated to speeches 6 minutes long on a wide range of topics, with responses from a fellow student chairman and proposer of vote of thanks.

Falinge Park HS’s Head teacher Janice Allen welcomed all and said she had, as a teenager, been in a similar competition. She spoke of how an ability to talk in public is useful in later life and helps to build confidence. Public speaking is now part of the curriculum at Falinge school.

Beech house school’s Charlotte Wilkinson (‘Life on the Streets’) talked of the plight of the homeless sleeping rough. Society should be more compassionate and not reject them. Finland has dramatically reduced the problem by rehousing people straightaway and by giving intensive advice and support.  

Bolton Girl School’s Maryam Ali (‘Is Beauty skin deep?’) spoke of how the appearance is an obsession in modern life . She made the plea that we should look more to the whole person and not just judge by looks. Social media and editable facial photographs have made the problem worse.

Bury Grammar Boys school’s Sam Carroll (‘are Apple’s prices realistic?’) gave his thoughts on the runaway success of Apple in the phone market. He made comparisons with other company’s products and discussed how Apple’s company image and past performance ensured success.

Falinge Park’s Emilia Gartside (a dog’s purpose) talked about the cruelty inflicted on animals for humans’ entertainment, giving examples from the recent film “a dogs purpose” showing a dog swimming in freezing water and the inhuman treatment in the Thailand Tiger temple and pleaded for more kindness

Ladybridge HS’s Marc Thompson described ‘the Under-preparation of Future Generations’. By not being given more responsibility at a young age, youth will be found wanting in later life and career.

Oldham Hulme GS’s  Jessica  Sheridan ‘We are family: Brothers and Sisters’ discussed how there can be friendships or differences within families but people work out ways of living together. A similar understanding of people not within the family would be a good thing for society

Falinge Park  senior team’s Iman Kazmi ‘The Search for the Silver Platter’ wanted celebrity pop singers and others to avoid saying unpleasant things on social media. They should not encourage young people to talk and behave badly like themselves implying that is the way to make one’s fortune.

Ladybridge HS’s senior team’s Amaan Patel ‘we are more than Pink or Blue’ discussed that blue for boys and pink for girls should be an outdated concept saying this is a very narrow stereotypic message. A healthier attitude is to allow everyone to be themselves.

Each speaker was asked a question from a nominated questioner, testing their understanding of their subject/topic.

The adjudicators John Wroe, Michael Knowles and Patricia Russell commented on the great variety and quality of the speeches and also gave feedback to teams afterwards

The Intermediate under 14years winner was Bolton Girls School  and Senior 14-18 years winners  were Falinge Park HS -well done to both.

Rochdale’s Mayor Councillor Mohammed Zaman presented certificates to all the students and said he had greatly enjoyed the event. Rotarian Warren Heyes from the Rotary district 1285 said ‘The skills and confidence shown at such a young age were simply amazing.’

Winners will go on to the next stage at the district final at Frodsham in March and could even get to the March regional final at Wrexham and the national final   at Nottingham in May

Final thanks were given by organiser Rotarian Ravi Sharma.

Youth Speaks 2018.


Youth Speaks Rochdale District Heat at Falinge Park High School on 25.01.2018


Rochdale Rotary Club in collaboration with Falinge Park HS organised a very successful public speaking competition for secondary school students from Falinge Park HS, Oldham Hulme Grammar, Beechwood House HS and Bury Grammar.

A nationwide competition, Rotary Youth Speaks, helps young people do public speaking and practice this art so they can continue it in later life. It promotes self-confidence and use of spoken English and tests young people’s ability to control their nerves and talk clearly in front of an audience (around 100 this time). Imagination and team work is needed to think of and research an interesting subject and deliver a knowledgeable speech about the topic. Some tongue in cheek or humorous views are often thrown into the mix. 

 Rochdale Rotary Club has sponsored the Falinge Park teams over many years  but  this is only the second time the school has hosted the event. Rotarian Ravi Sharma and Falinge teacher Richard Rhodes planned the evening and were helped by pupils, staff and friends from the school and members of the Rotary club and Rochdale Inner wheel. A welcome from deputy head Susan Wood and Rotary president Ann Stott was followed by Rotary District 1285 Governor  elect Anthony Graves asking the students to relax and enjoy it!

6 teams  of three took part, each with a chairperson to introduce the speaker and a vote of thanks was given by the 3rd team member. A team of judges from Rostrum(a club which has public speaking as it’s theme) gave a final decision on winners for  age groups 11-13 (intermediate) and 14-17 (seniors). Marks were lost if team members overran a lot or took too little time. Timekeepers showed a green light going to red if team members overran their time ;1 mark lost for every 15 seconds in the red. Each speaker was asked a probing question by a questioner after their speech and extra marks gained for a good answer.

Falinge Park HS team A, Iman Kazmi, Farah Khan and Shannon Hitchings, were intermediate heat winners with their topic GOLDEN NUGGETS   Farah Khan talked of the injustices in our society and the plight of many forgotten and neglected frail elderly people. She suggested visiting them regularly keep them company and ask them for guidance. Do not treat them as an inconvenience - they are people too!  

Bury Grammar school team B Sophie Parker, Hashim Tahir, Amaan Sadiq were senior heat winners with ONLY A GAME

After negative media publicity Hashim worried he may have an addiction to videogames as he sometimes prioritises it over other work after a busy school week. Also could the violent nature of some games   have a bad effect on him and lead to violent behaviour? He presented it as a leisure activity not like   smoking, drug taking, drinking or gambling which cause harm to physical, mental and financial health.

Bury team A was Maryam Khan, Emily Wilson and Isobel Lewis.   Emily talked of  SEXUAL HARASSMENT describing the shocking attitudes and inappropriate behaviour towards women by certain men in position of power particularly in the entertainment industry. Harassment should be better defined and bosses should always be respectful to their employees. Time limits for appeals to employment tribunals should be more than 3 months More legislation is needed to protect women.

 UNPOPULAR OPINIONS ON THE ARTS by Oldham Hulme Grammar team Jessica Sheridan, Isabella Brierley-Bernasconi ,   Evvie Wagster-Konstantinidou . Isabella described the obsession by people with what others have said is beautiful in art eg the Mona Lisa (speaker liken it to a Mona Weasel!). Beautiful art works are waiting for people to discover them ;it’s better to explore your own path! Don’t rely on art critics to guide you; find your own favourites and don’t be put off even if less celebrated or even hated by others.


ALCATRAZ   Falinge team B Emilia Gartside, Sadia Begum and   Evan Binil compared the school system to Alcatraz Prison. Sadia asked that young people should help to govern schools and have more say in the subjects they wish to do and which school trips they want to go on. Their self-esteem would increase and they would be able to be the architect of their own future. Many young people have the confidence, responsibility and ability to do this but (like adults) should not be expected to get it right every time.

SHOULD WE KEEP ANIMALS IN ZOOS Beech House school Sophie Wilkinson, Holly Gaucas and   Issabella Chapman.   Holly emphasised the need for more natural environments and space. How would we as humans feel if we were being watched every day and locked up in a human zoo? If animals are endangered, proper sanctuaries with natural environments may be the answer and some, such as elephants, which need to walk freely could be released into them.

All teams performed brilliantly and had certificates for taking part, best teams as above ,Best Chairperson Iman Kazmi and Sophie Parker(int), Speakers Farah Khan & Emily Wilson, Proposers of Vote of Thanks Isobel Lewis and Isabella Chapman. Deputy Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Mohammed Zaman spoke of his great enjoyment in seeing such talent on display.

 District finals for Falinge Park A and Bury Grammar School B are to be held at Forest Hills Hotel, Overton Hill, Frodsham, WA6 6HH  4th March 12.30 pm. There are Regional  and even National Finals later so good luck to  both teams and well done!

Contact Information

Rotary Club of Rochdale

Masonic Buildings
Richard Street
OL11 1DU

Tel: 01706 767409

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