La Sainte Union Catholic School

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Debating Champions

Jack Petchey Speaking Competition

On Thursday 1st December, two intrepid speakers from LSU competed in the Speak Out Challenge, created by The Jack Petchey Foundation, at Parliament School. This was a Camden-wide regional final including six secondary schools across the borough. Only one student would be chosen to go to the national semi-finals in May 2023.

The Speak Out Competition is an opportunity for students across the country to share their interests and passions with the wider community. So often students are told what to write and speak about within the strictures of a curriculum, but this competition allows students to speak about issues affecting them.

LSU’s school finalists were Helena M from 10 Josephine and Florence W from 10 Elizabeth. Both performed inspiring speeches that captured votes of LSU’s discerning year 10 students.

The lighting was low, but the anticipation was high as our speakers prepared to perform. Helena gave a rousing, passionate speech called ‘Don’t police my clothing’ and Florence shared a thought-provoking piece called ‘What is acting ‘black’?’. They had strong competition from all the other speakers who brought their A game. Yet, they were no match for LSU and, for the first time ever in LSU’s history, Florence W won the regional final!

Florence will compete against all other borough champions in the semi-final May 2023 and we will be championing her all the way to the final in Cambridge Theatre in July 2023. Congratulations Florence and Helena for your fantastic performances. Next year, more year 10 students will have the opportunity to be part of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge – start planning your speeches!

Fictional Worlds Debating Competition

On Tuesday 29th November, two teams from LSU competed in a debating competition with a difference at South Hampstead High School. For this event, each round was based on a different literary universe, resulting in the following amazing debates:

  • (His Dark Materials): This House would prefer to live in a world where our inner selves exist as visible, talking creatures (daemons).
  • (Harry Potter): This House would make the use of memory charms to (“obliviate”) an unforgivable curse.
  • (The Handmaid’s Tale): This House, as the Canadian government, would make any and all support or expressions of support for Gilead a crime.
  • (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory): Following the events of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this House would arrest Willy Wonka.

Up against 20 other teams from some of the top schools in London, LSU’s junior squad of Eliza G, Emma C (both 9A), and Florence W (10E) were trying to make it a hat-trick of wins following their victories in the Autumn and Summer championships last year. Having claimed victory in their first and second-round matches against two SHHS teams, they were pipped narrowly at the final hurdle by St Paul’s Girls School’s A team.

Meanwhile, our senior section team made up of Ash RR (11E), Louise-Anne DB (11T), and Zarin B (11R) battled past sixth formers from St. Bede’s and a UCS swing team, before coming up against SHHS in the final round.

As we gathered in the auditorium for the results, everyone waited with bated breath before a drum roll, and…. victory! Huge congratulations to Ash, Louise-Anne and Zarin, whose names will now stand with pride on the LSU chopping board/squirrel-hybrid oracy trophy!


English Schools Union Churchill Public Speaking Competition

On Wednesday 30th November, two teams from LSU took part in the first round of the ESU’s National Public Speaking Competition.

The format involves three distinct roles. First, there is the “chair”, who introduces the other team’s speaker, oversees the asking of questions, keeps track of timings and summarises the arguments. Second, the “speaker”, who delivers a five-minute speech and responds to questions. Finally, there is the “questioner”, who interrogates the other team’s speaker over the course of four minutes at the end of the speech.

Drawn against our old adversaries, oracy extraordinaire from South Hampstead High School, our first trio was reduced down to two before things even kicked off owing to an unavoidable late dropout. Bianca M (speaker, 11D) and Zarin B (chair and questioner, 11R) battled on magnificently in adverse circumstances, presenting on the question of whether the NHS should stop supporting the treatment of obesity, but fell just short of going through.

It was a similar story of a last-minute change of personnel for our second team, comprising Louise-Anne DB (speaker, 11T), Ash RR (11E, questioner), and the wonderful Niamh C (11T) who agreed to step into the role of chairperson on the way home! Seemingly facing a mountain to climb, their heroic presentation on the subject of “No more power to the robots” and Ash’s brilliant questioning won through to the next round (destination unknown!).

Well done to them all!