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THREE students from Leek High School will be speaking up for Staffordshire at the area finals of a public speaking competition this month.

Year 11 girls Sally Belfield, Hannah Gordon and Harriet Burns impressed judges when they took part in the local area `Youth Speaks` Rotary International public speaking competition at the Fat Olives restaurant in Leek.

Badger culling and the impact of TB on the farming industry was the hot topic for debate and Sally Belfield, as chairperson, introduced the controversial subject while Hannah Gordon delivered a polished and impassioned speech drawing on her own research to argue both sides of the debate. Harriet Burns brought the proceedings to a close and proposed a vote of thanks.

Michael Readman, from Rotary International, said: “The team were a great credit to themselves, their school and their parents. The quality of their performance was the highest ever seen by Leek High at the Rotary Club and bodes very well for the area final.”

Rotary International has run a public speaking competition for young people for many years. They recognise and value the opportunity for youngsters to practice developing a well thought-out argument and the experience of presenting it to an intelligent audience.

The three girls will now speak at the area finals of the competition, taking place in Market Drayton, on February 22.  Leek High teacher Steve Emberson, who manages the team, said: “They are really looking forward now to representing Leek in the next round.”


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