Kilkeel High School has a proud history of success at the BPW Public Speaking competition, and this year we are so proud of our latest team who represented us at the Northern Ireland Final! The Final took place on Tuesday 23rd November at Ulster Carpets in Portadown. The finalists competing alongside KHS included teams from Portadown College, Wallace High School, St Catherine’s College and St Mary’s Grammar School.
The team comprising Jack (Chairperson), Jazmin (Speaker) and Grace (Thanker) delivered a unique and educational address entitled: “Why the arts matter now, more than ever!” The speech shone a light on the blatant defunding of arts which has taken place since COVID-19 hit.
The team were placed third overall, and Grace won the individual Best Expresser of Thanks Award!
As part of the team format, Jack introduced Jazmin, pointing out that she, as a singer songwriter, laments the decreasing arts options at GCSE and A-Level for students, and how pushing students into STEM based careers will present problems in the future.
Jazmin made the audience aware of how much we owe to the arts, since, during lockdown, most of us turned to Netflix and Spotify to keep us entertained and comforted while we were isolated from each other. She also pointed out that despite this, the government has cut arts funding to schools by £270 million. She enumerated for the audience how the arts support our economy, our health, our quality of life and our education.
She left us with a thought: it is not famous businessmen that societies are remembered for, but the art those societies leave behind.
Grace then took the floor offering insightful feedback on Jazmin’s speech, pointing out the key aspects which are true and hit home for us all to reflect on. She also did a brilliant job noting how Jazmin handled the questions from the audience, and made the audience feel truly involved in offering our vote of thanks to Jazmin.
The students really enjoyed themselves and want to thank Mr Hamilton for taking the time to drive the team to Portadown for the Final.