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Youth Speaks Bristol Rotary Club Competition

On Thursday 7th November an Intermediate team for CGS went to Clifton High School to compete in the Youth Speaks Competition. We competed against Redland High School and Badminton School. We were very proud to be the only state school represented in this Bristol heat of a nationwide competition. Every year we field a strong and enthusiastic team. Our main speaker was Hemlata Pant, supported wonderfully by Irene Raju, who skilfully introduced the speech and Abbie Clarke who made a moving and celebratory Vote of thanks. They were helped and supported by Ella Stavely.


Hemlata spoke with great confidence, commitment and passion about the plight of girls in Low Income Countries. She educated her audience about the personal stories of sexism and violence against girls in disadvantaged environments. She became interested in this cause after talking to her friend’s mother about her life as a girl in India, and was horrified to hear about such widespread abuses. A true Colstons’ Girl, she decided to do something about it and spread the word about this deeply disturbing issue.

The topic was skilfully introduced by Irene, who set the bar high with her very impassioned delivery. After speaking for exactly 6 minutes, from memory, Halima then had to answer a spontaneous question from a Rotary Club Member, usually the Head of QEH. Halima responded thoughtfully and precisely to the question about what individuals could do to help.


Finally, Abbie Clarke delivered a highly impressive Vote Of Thanks. She spoke movingly about how much she loves coming to such a socially diverse school, and how this diversity enriches the school community and everyone’s lives.

Parents and teachers had tears in their eyes throughout the girls’ performance. The judges praised them all for their team effort, professional delivery and powerful message. Other speeches were also delivered on ‘Why we should challenge the way Autism is presented in society’ and ‘How do we distinguish between negative and positive peer pressure’.

Although the evening was dark and wet outside, the inside of the ancient hall at Clifton High School glowed with the enthusiasm of young people marking a great contribution towards changing at making a attitudes and a step towards becoming a more inclusive and caring world.

Hemlata Pant, Irene Raju, Abbie Clarke and Ella Staveley

Year 9