Last night, Glasgow’s Fernhill School were crowned winners of the 2016 COPFS National Public Speaking Competition in an exciting final held in the grand setting of Parliament House, on Edinburgh’s historic High Street.
Ella McIndoe and Erin McQuillan of Fernhill School fended off tough competition from sixty schools across Scotland during the course of the whole competition. Having won the West of Scotland final on 4th May they qualified for the national final, where they competed against Kirkcaldy High School, winners of the East of Scotland final, and Speyside High School, victors of the North of Scotland final.
The topic for the national final was: “If I was appointed Scottish Government Minister responsible for Equality then the first things I would do are… because…” The judges for the final were Alex Prentice QC, Lesslie Young, Chief Executive of Epilepsy Scotland and COPFS Deputy Crown Agent, John Dunn. Speyside High School’s Mairi Weir and Zoe Jackson made the long journey from Banffshire to compete in the national final and put in a valiant effort, focusing their speeches on furthering equality for residents of rural Scotland.
Umar Mohammed and Kyle Pitcaithly from Kirkcaldy High School delivered passionate speeches on education and wealth distribution across Scotland.
Finally, the pupils from Fernhill School used their time well to set out how they would change the hearts and minds of people to improve inequalities surrounding gender, disability and education.
Organised by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), the competition first began in 2012 with the first national final held in 2015. Topics for the competition focus on issues relating to Equality and Diversity and are intended to provide a platform for pupils to showcase their originality, passion and oratory skills. The event is aimed at encouraging the younger generation to engage with issues affecting our society today and to encourage school pupils to participate in public speaking.
Presenting the trophy to the winners Lesslie Young, Chief of Epilepsy Scotland said: “It is inspiring to see young people tackle such challenging subjects that are so relevant to our society today. The standard of competition this year has been exceptionally high and is further proof that we need to listen to the views of young people when making decisions aimed at improving the world we live in.”