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    Superb Student Speeches Inspire Creativity and Reflection


    16 Dec, 2016

    10 : 00

    • The Yew Chung International School of Beijing English Department hosted its annual speech events competition this week for the entirety of Secondary School. The event was an impressive showcase of the school’s finest speakers and performers all competing in front of their peers to take home top honors.

      Competitors were hand-picked from English classes across Years 7-11 to compete in three different speech and performance categories: dramatic interpretation, duet acting, and original oratory. The dramatic interpretation and duet acting categories were judged as a single group and attracted those students with a flair for drama and dramatic performance, whereas the original oratory category was a more traditional speech format, featuring students looking to convey a specific message or argument.

      A special congratulations to the first place winners Chloe Sandifer-Stech (dramatic interpretation) and David Clotworthy (original oratory)! Chloe delivered a dramatic interpretation of “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult, written in the voice of a precocious child who doesn’t want her life determined for her, while David gave an effective and humorous argument on the importance of bananas in society, with an added message on how we’ve become too reliant on factory farming.

      In advance of this final competition, students engaged in a speech and debate unit, during which they were taught persuasive writing and effective speech and delivery skills. They then wrote their own speeches which they performed in single classes, the best of which were chosen to compete in the all-school competition.

      Beyond the glory of winning first prize, speech and dramatic performance bring important benefits to student development. Bradley Locke, Head of English at YCIS Beijing and lead organizer of the event, spoke on this: “the act of speaking in a structured and rehearsed way helps students to become confident speakers in front of people, a necessary skill to possess in your adult life. You’ll have to speak in front of people regardless of what you do. Especially with students becoming increasingly reliant on smartphones and technology, speaking and communicating with people directly is something that is becoming less emphasized in their daily lives. Events like these are important reminders on the importance of this ability.”

      For those students interested in succeeding in future competitions, David, winner of the original oratory competition, offered some advice: “Choose a topic that you’re passionate about or find interesting, then write. Once you’ve gotten your ideas down on paper, you can revise and make it more speech-worthy and formal. It’s also important to be confident. For my personal performance, I found at some points I didn’t add enough emphasis on what I was saying. This is something I look to improve in the future and something that others should keep in mind as well when giving their speeches.”

      Congratulations to all participants on a job well done and best of luck in next year’s competition!