The final of the 2014 East of Scotland Schools Public Speaking Competition took place on 18 June at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Chambers Street, following local heats across the region.
The competition hopes to encourage young people from across Scotland to hone their speaking skills, while at the same time encouraging them to consider real issues that could affect them or those around them.
The statement under discussion during last night’s final was "Everyone should have the freedom to wear what they want".
While all pupils had performed to a very high standard in order to reach the final, ultimately McLaren High School from Callander took the prize, seeing off strong challenges from St Andrew’s High School from Kirkcaldy, and Holy Rood High School from Edinburgh.
This year’s competition involved dozens of teams of pupils, competing across a number of local heats across Fife, the Lothians and Central Scotland in hopes of reaching the final.
The East of Scotland final was judged by the Solicitor General, Lesley Thomson QC alongside Alex Prentice QC, Principal Crown Counsel and Laura McPherson, Procurator Fiscal for Sheriff and Jury cases in the East of Scotland.
After presenting the trophy to the winners, the Solicitor General said:
“It is fantastic to see school pupils from across the east of Scotland come together to discuss complex issues and compete to such a consistently high level.
“All have been a credit to the schools, and I am sure all will go on to great things.
“I am proud that the prosecution service can play a part in giving young people in Scotland the opportunity to consider complex issues that affect them and their peers, and to hone their speaking skills in this way.”
Speaking of their victory, Marc Fleming, Head Teacher of McLaren High School, said:
“I would like to congratulate our team on their win.
"The pupils have really gained a lot from participating in this competition. They have honed their public speaking skills and have really engaged in topics and issues that they perhaps hadn't thought about before.
"Mary Donnelly and Hazel Lafferty are a credit to their parents, their school and the young people of McLaren High School."