York Civic Trust held its much anticipated annual Secondary Public Speaking Competition at the Merchant Adventures’ Hall on Wednesday 24th November. Organised by the Trust’s Education Committee, nine of the twelve Secondary Schools in York entered teams of two students, impressively tackling contentious and complex issues around the future of their city.

The Sheriff of York, Cllr. Ashley Mason, and The Sheriff’s Lady, Mrs Danielle Mason, attended the event alongside other York Councillors, Civic Trust Members, Parents, Teachers and the general public.

The topics discussed included:

  • Is York really a city of sanctuary?
  • Spending money on flood defences is a waste of resources
  • Working from home is great – let’s keep on doing it?
  • What shall we do with York’s empty shops?

For the first time in the history of the competition first prize was shared between two schools. Big congratulations goes out to the joint winners Huntington School, represented by Nola Fleming and Findley List, and All Saints, represented by Katie Wrenn and Lucy Johnson.

The competition winners lift the Obelisk trophy, with the Sheriff of York and the Sheriff’s Lady. Photo: David Thewlis.

In addition to the iconic Obelisk trophy, to be shared between the two winning schools, book tokens for the four winning speakers and certificates for all participants were awarded. Civic Trust Chief Executive Andrew Morrison invited all participants to spend a day at the Trust offices, helping to shape Trust’s work, including ideas for potential future Blue Plaque recipients. The event affirmed the importance of hearing the views of York’s young people in shaping the Trust’s future development.

Head judge Darrell Buttery said the standard of this year’s event had been ‘exceptional’, remarking that “To hear so many talented young people engaging with their city is wonderful!”

Verna Campbell, chair of the Trust’s Education Committee added: “I’m proud to live in a city where we have such excellent schools producing these amazing young people. York is in safe hands!”

Click here the read the full write-up in York Press.