Alex Owens was the (excellent) presenter of this year's Transition Year House Speech competition on October 2nd. Here is her report on the process, and the evening itself:-
Before we knew it, it was the Sunday evening and tensions grew. Various speakers arrived at six thirty to have one last chance to practise their speech up on stage before the real thing later on that evening. I was there myself as I had been in the BSR practising my role for the night’s events as the presenter. As the speakers practised we all gave our last minute advice and tips, trying to reassure and calm each other down.
The moment finally came. Only five minutes before the doors opened to the public, Mr Canning casually entered the BSR with the final list of the ten speakers who were chosen to present their final pieces. Those ten were Helene Peters, Sean Freney, Alexander Bisgood, Harry Johnson, Tara McCormick, Juliana Huggard, Aidan Chisholm, Christina Alvarez, Oliver Glenn-Craigie and William Wood.
After the doors were closed I finally kicked off the evening by introducing and then going straight into it, calling up the first speaker of the night, Helene Peters speaking on what she found most important in life. Gradually the night went on with pupils speaking on a variety of different things such as allergies, grandparents, cows, being adopted, boarding and the truths about where they really live. The list goes on.
From the presenter's point of view on the night I felt that all speakers spoke extremely well. However there were some speeches in particular that won me over.
One of them was Helene Peters’s speech, which was on what she found most important in life. Her speech was very well put together overall and was very well presented seeing as she wasn’t even speaking her first language. Her views on what she found most important in life were both interesting to me and to the audience as there was dead silence throughout the whole of it. She made those listening think and question themselves on what they too found most important and also pointed out that things like money don’t actually matter later on but instead enjoying the moment when you are in beautiful surroundings, completely free and with the people that you love.
Another speech which I enjoyed immensely was Willy Wood’s on his home county, Cavan. He spoke about the truths and lies on his precious county, setting the facts straight including humour and interesting facts. Such as - that people in Co. Cavan actually have secret drawers in their tables so that when uninvited guests come around they slip their dinner into the secret drawer so they don’t have to share their food with them! This in fact was new to Willy himself, seeing that he had only heard it a couple of weeks ago which inspired him to do his speech on exactly that. Overall I think every member of the audience enjoyed it seeing as his speech ended the evening perfectly with everyone in stitches of laughter.
After the speeches ended the judges went off to tally the results. While that was happening we had a bit of entertainment done by a few members of the fourth form with Aidan Chisholm on guitar and Brendan Dickerson singing ‘Stand By Me', followed by Lasse, Tosan and Stevie dancing.
Mr McCarthy called out the final winners of the night who were Alexander Bisgood coming in third speaking on his grandparents, Christina Alvarez second speaking on Down Syndrome and Helene Peters the winner speaking on what she finds most important in life.
In order of Houses Hollypark came first followed by Iona and then Stackallan.