Archbishop Beck Catholic College took part in the English-Speaking Union's Liverpool and Merseyside Branch Final on Friday 6th February 2015 at the prestigious Athenaeum Club in the centre of Liverpool. In this longstanding annual event, in which the team members found themselves pitted against four other local schools, Archbishop Beck earned their place in the Regional Final that will take place in Cheshire on March 14th. The winning team on that day will be heading for the National Grand Final at Churchill College, Cambridge in April.
A particular highlight of the team's performance was that each team member was nominated for an award in each of the particular categories.
Jon-Joe, a former pupil of Holy Name Primary School and a Year 11 student, wowed the judges and the audience with his captivating speech on "Freedom is an illusion", eliciting a comment from the judges that "this was a most mature presentation that held us spellbound". He was awarded Best Speaker of the event - an honour which the College won in 2013.
Jon-Joe, who is an accomplished actor and musician, can now add success in public speaking to his burgeoning portfolio. He hopes one day to be either a lawyer or an actor but for the moment he is concentrating on his academic work, which includes sitting Advanced level maths two years early.
James, former pupil of Blessed Sacrament Primary School and a Year 10 student, was awarded Best Questioner on the evening. James commented: "I really do enjoy listening to speeches and then asking some very probing questions, but you really do have to think on your feet." The College boasts notable success in the past in the role of Questioner: last year Lewis triumph as Questioner in the London National Final earned him a trip to a function in the House of Lords, where the Princess Royal presented him with his award.
The third member of this year's team is Year 11 student Praise, a former pupil of Blessed Sacrament Primary School, who, in his role as Chairman, secured the Molly Merivale trophy, which is awarded to the Personality of the evening. This is the third year in succession that Archbishop Beck has won in this category. Praise, who is hoping to study Medicine, said afterwards: "It was all in all a thrilling event."
Assistant Headteacher of the College, Bruce Hicks, said "We have a very successful team which over the last few months has shown real determination, grit and commitment in achieving the standard required to reach this stage in this national competition." He added: "It is not called the ESU Churchill Public Speaking Contest for nothing!"
Speaking after the event, Headteacher of the College, Paul Dickinson, said: "This has been a mammoth endeavour. At a time when schools are judged on targets and examination results we have always gone beyond the classroom for our students with a strong commitment to Public Speaking and the Arts, providing our young people with a really life-enhancing education. Our students have shown a great deal of growth in participating in this and similar events over a number of years now and we offer them our special congratulations."?