ESU International Public Speaking Competition
Departmental Final

Patricia Curd

It was standing room only at the English Language Library in Angers for the Departmental Final of the Public Speaking Competition on the evening of Thursday 21st February. Almost 100 people, including parents, teachers and class mates, had come to support the 15 candidates, each one aiming to convince the judges to select them for the National Final to be held in the Salons de la Présidence de l’Hôtel du Département on the evening of 21st March 2013.

The competition began in October 2012. Since then ESU members have been visiting schools to assist teachers in training their students for this event. In all, approximately 85 students have participated, representing 5 schools: the Lycée Joachim du Bellay, the Lycée Saint Agnes, and the Lycée Saint Martin, all in Angers, and for the first time this year, the Lycée Duplessis Mornay and the Lycée Saint Louis in Saumur. Sadly, not all participants could take part on Thursday evening and difficult choices had to be made within each school to select 3 students from each to take part in the Departmental Final.

The theme for this stage of the competition was ‘the Head or the Heart’. Under the watchful gaze of a life-size cut-out of President Obama, students spoke enthusiastically on a range of subjects from the obvious to the obscure, covering topics from broken hearts to music, from cigarette smoking to arranged marriages. Each individual did their best to convince the judges that they should be selected for the National Final. Six judges had the difficult task of selecting the three winners: Marie Aure & Marine Verny, both from the Lycée Saint Martin in Angers and Quentin Rybeirol from the Lycée Duplessis Mornay in Saumur. These three will now face three students representing ESU Bordeaux in the National Final. The winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Dartmouth House in London for a week of visits and workshops culminating in the ESU International Public Speaking Final 17th May 2013. This annual competition is sponsored by the HSBC Global Educational Trust and brings together nearly 50 students from countries throughout the world.

We wish Marie, Marine and Quentin the very best of luck in the next round of the competition. The theme for the speeches is ‘A House Divided upon Itself Cannot Stand’. Please note down 21st March in your diary. Other students will be demonstrating their debating skills during the course of the evening. You will be amazed at the high standard of English and presentation skills they have attained and especially at their enthusiasm. Please come along and give them your support.