Beth Crane who represented Wallace High School has won the Soroptimists International, 35th Annual Youth Public Speaking Competition, which was held in Hillsborough last weekend, sponsored by Diamond Recruitment Group.
Soroptimists International, is a global women’s organisation seeking to improve the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment.
Following regional heats across Northern Ireland, fourteen Year 12 and Year 13 girls were selected for the final, held at the Hillsborough Village Centre.
Following six minute prepared speeches and minute extempore speeches in front of an audience of 150 people, the adjudication panel awarded
the top prize to Beth, a representative of Wallace High School and the Lisburn region.
In addition to a £200 bursary provided by Diamond Recruitment, Beth has been invited to deliver her speech on the purpose of education to the joint North/South Soroptimists Conference on May 19 in Derry/Londonderry.
The runners up were Courtney Weir, Ballymoney and District who received a £100 bursary from Diamond and Rhiann McCurdy, Ballymena – received a £50 bursary from Diamond.
Mary McKinney, Regional President for the Soroptimists, said: “Under the Soroptimist aim of ‘Educating to Lead’, this competition enables girls to practise their communication skills and develop their confidence in public speaking.
“With finalists researching topics and delivering their speeches to an audience of over 150 people, the girls participating had an opportunity to enhance their skills.”
Maureen Maguire, Regional Convenor for the competition, said: “It is extremely important for young women to be able to speak and communicate effectively, as it is widely recognise that the art of communication is the Language of Leadership.
“This being the 35th year of the competition, the standard of the speeches continues to rise, year on year, with finalists this year being no exception.”
Tina McKenzie, Group Managing Director for Diamond Recruitment, said: “With employers increasingly focused on the importance of communication skills in the workplace, Diamond Recruitment was delighted to sponsor such an important event.
“With finalists presenting well-argued speeches and showing the resilience necessary to present in front of a large audience, they have enhanced their employability and are set to bring these skills to an employer in the future.”