Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Newbridge College 'Speak Week'

On Thursday the 5th of March the entire First Year group of students gathered in the Theatre for their Public Speaking competition, ‘Speak Week’. It was a wonderful occasion that saw over thirty finalists have their chance to speak out about issues important to them. With topics including Mental Health and Young People, Environmental and Economic Challenges for the Irish Agricultural Sector, School Policies, and, Charity Work, there was no shortage of interesting ideas explored and the audience, both students and staff alike, were hooked from the moment they took their seats. 

Newbridge College has a long and proud tradition of Debating and Public Speaking. The skills involved in participating in such events include research, the ability to express an opinion clearly and persuasively, to see things from another perspective, to think logically and creatively and of course, the ability to grow in confidence as you learn to believe in yourself and what you have to say. We live in a world where social media has made it possible for anyone and everyone to air their grievances and base arguments on opinions rather than research and fact. We live in a world of ‘fake news’ where the general consensus seems to rest on people’s ability to aggressively target each other through the comment sections of various social media platforms. It seems that now more than ever we need the art of Public Speaking. 

Team 1X who spoke about Creativity

As well as being a wonderful occasion however, this was also a very important one for First Year students. The word ‘Veritas’ forms part of the Newbridge College crest, and as every student knows, it is the Latin word for ‘Truth’. Learning to speak out in front of others is a special skill to have. All too often the truth never gets told because people are afraid to speak. This fantastic group of First Year students are now firmly on the path to having the skills and courage to speak the truth, to speak up for those unable to speak for themselves. To coin the famous phrase ‘The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’ Being able to speak up, to speak the truth, is possibly one of the most important things anyone can learn to do. As St. John wrote in his Gospels, ‘The Truth will set you free.’ 

The team of adjudicators were put through their paces as they struggled to reach a consensus. It was close - the hard work and talent of each group made it very difficult to reach a final result. After much debate and re-checking score sheets, a decision was reached. One of the most difficult things about writing and delivering a speech is the need for creativity. The creative process is what allows speakers to connect closely with their audience but this is not always an easy thing to achieve. Yet that is exactly what the Winning Team, Ms. Scully’s English class 1X, managed to do. The fantastic four captivated their peers and the adjudicators with their inspiring speeches about creativity and the absolute need for the arts in our society. Congratulations to Lucy Harkin, Lily Crawford, Caoilinn McDonnell and Joshua Murphy. The second category, Speaker of The Day, was equally as difficult to agree on. Each and every one of the speakers delivered a speech that showcased hard work and determination, that was individual, interesting and compelling. In the end however, the adjudicators agreed that it was Ella Cullen from Ms. Storey’s 1Z English class who deserved the award. Her speech about Mental Health and Young People was fantastically prepared and beautifully delivered.  
Speaker of the Day, Ella Cullen, 1Z
Winning Team collecting their trophies
Congratulations to all of the participants and thank you for your hard work. Also a sincere thank you to the Transition Year students who assisted and to the adjudicators - your help was a key part of the success of ‘Speak Week’. Teachers, thank you too for your hard work and planning.  Finally, a special thank you to our Principal Mr. O’Brien, and Deputy Principals Ms. Bradshaw and Mr. Conroy for their support. 

Adjudicators hard at work

I hope everyone enjoyed the event of ‘Speak Week’ as much as I did! 

- Mrs. Nolan