On 6 February we were delighted to host the North Semi-Final of the highly regarded GDST Public Speaking Competition, the Chrystall Prize, in which Year 11 students speak for up to seven minutes on their allocated topic, and then are asked questions by the audience for up to three minutes.

In front of an audience of Year 10 girls, the stage was set in the hall, the atmosphere of anticipation growing as Mrs Lloyd-Hughes introduced the competition.  We were represented very ably by Year 11 student Frankie Docker, who faced four other speakers from different GSDT schools: Newcastle, Nottingham, Belvedere and Birkenhead.  

Frankie spoke first, on the subject of ‘Conservation is Survival’.  She spoke animatedly, engaging the judges and deftly fielding questions from the audience.  Frankie was followed by the speakers from the four other school, who were also extremely well prepared, and the competition was very close.

‘I’ve gained a lot more confidence from the Chrystall Prize,’ said Frankie. ‘It was a very exciting opportunity, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.’

Our judges,  Chris Rooke, retired Regional Advisory Drama Teacher for Barnsley, Rebecca Kerry, Journalist and news broadcaster for Radio Sheffield, and Sheila Chapman, principal of Stagecoach performing arts school had a very tough job on their hands, but eventually they found Newcastle to be the winners, with the topic of ‘Is there any magic left in this world?’ Well done to all the competitors!

The Chrystall Prize is named after Chrystall Carter, Legal Adviser to the Trust and then Deputy Legal Secretary, until her sudden and untimely death in 1999.  This competition was set up by her husband in her memory, to mark her commitment to the girls themselves, her pleasure in their success and her belief in the power of argument.