St Ambrose High School were last month hailed as winners of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service national schools public speaking competition.
Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC with proud winners Katie Beekman and Elena Margiotti from St Ambrose High School
Elena Margiotti and Katie Beekman, both 14 and in S4 at the Coatbridge school, teamed up to triumph in a keenly contested final at Parliament House in Edinburgh on Thursday 13 June.
They emerged victorious after debating with teams from Glasgow's Shawlands Academy and Culloden Academy, Inverness, on the topic “To advance equality for all in Scotland I would introduce...”
This year's competition involved 164 pupils from 57 schools across Scotland. Presenting the trophy to the winners the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC said: "Congratulations to all who took part in this year’s competition.
Elena and Katie were winners in the final, but all the pupils and teachers who took part are a credit to their schools, and all should be very proud of their achievements.
I am always delighted to see what can be achieved when young people come together in the spirit of friendly competition to develop confidence, public speaking skills and engage in discussion and debate addressing important issues relating to diversity and equality in ways they perhaps hadn’t considered before.”
Winner Elena Margiotti said: "Coming to Parliament House and speaking in front of the Lord Advocate was a bit intimidating, but I relaxed when the atmosphere became quite light and I really got into my speech."
St Ambrose team-mate Katie Beekman agreed: "I thought it was a good sign when the judges laughed at our jokes. I'm sure the main reason we won, though, was because our speeches were really coherent."
Elena, who wants to be a human rights or environmental lawyer, added: "Winning this competition with my friend Katie and showing our skill in public speaking means a lot to me. I'm so pleased."
The COPFS schools public speaking competition started in Glasgow in 2012 and soon after went on to be a national event and part of the work done by Scotland's prosecution service to improve understanding of equality and diversity issues. The competition plays a key role in engaging young people and the wider community in discussions and debates on important issues related to the work of COPFS.