Alexander Stanley from Swanlea School is the 22nd winner of the Tower Hamlets Public Speaking Competition, the final of which was held at Lloyd’s on Thursday 4 May 2017.   Run by Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (THEBP) in association with Lloyd’s Community Programme (LCP), this year’s competition saw over 200 Year 10 students from all over the borough take part.  They could choose to address one of three questions.  Is access to the internet a right or a privilege? Is demand for fast entertainment ruining creativity/originality? Is space exploration a good use of our time and money?

 

Alexander triumphed with a thoughtful and well-researched speech which highlighted how important it was for everyone to have access to the internet; it should not be just regarded as a privilege.  Summing up his argument, he used an image showing the power and delight that the internet can bring to remote communities.

 

Michaele Hawkins of Lloyd’s Community Programme, said “The students have represented themselves, their schools and their local community brilliantly today. They have dealt with complex and challenging questions with passion and presented very persuasive arguments. The judging panel struggled to pick an overall winner given the high quality of speeches, and I congratulate all the finalists for showcasing their skills and well considered viewpoints.”

 

Two additional accolades were on offer to contestants. First is the Ralph Charan Prize, which as an innovation to previous years, is now awarded to the student who shows the most promising debating skills. This is decided via a short ad-lib round, where students are given a few minutes to prepare an argument in favour or against a topical news item announced on the spot. Each student then goes head-to-head against a peer arguing the other side of the news item.  This prize went to Sophio Maria Loladze of Swanlea School.

Students also battled it out to win the prize for the audience’s popular vote, which is a new award decided by a ballot of the audience members at the event, including Lloyd’s market staff who volunteered with local students at workshops in the earlier stages of the competition. This prize went to Abdullah Seraj of Stepney Green School.

 

Helen Sanson, director of Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership, commented: “Huge congratulations to Alexander!  We have made a number of innovations to the Public Speaking Competition this year to ensure the impact and learning for students remains current and engaging.  This competition reflects our core aim which is to enable young people to develop the self-assurance and independence they need to succeed in their next steps.”