Representing three local schools, 10 students competed in the Enniskillen heat of the 38th Soroptimist Annual Youth Award Public Speaking Competition which was held at Fermanagh House on Tuesday, November 12.

The competing Year 12 and 13 students from Mount Lourdes Grammar School, Enniskillen Royal Grammar School and Devenish College had to prepare and perform speeches around four minutes long yet not exceeding the time limit of six minutes. The students had to choose from six topics, which had been chosen to represent the areas in which Soroptimist International is involved. These included Economic Empowerment, Environment Sustainability, Food Security, Learning Opportunities and Violence and Conflict Resolution.

The adjudicators on the night were Barbara Stuart, who was representing Soroptimist International Enniskillen and SDLP Councillor Paul Blake. Chief Judge was Reggie Ferguson of Fergusons Solicitors.

Elle Gilmore, a Year 13 student of Enniskillen Royal Grammar School was awarded first place for her speech on the topic ‘To bee or not to bee! Without bees, are we in trouble?’ Elle will now go on to compete in the Northern Ireland Final which will take place in Hillsborough in February 2020.

Jessica Murray, a year 13 student at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School took second place and Lucy Toal, a Year 12 student at Mount Lourdes was placed third. All 10 competitors were presented with a participation certificate.

Speaking following the competition, Sue Hogg Soroptimist International Enniskillen President commented: “The Soroptimist Club in Enniskillen is delighted to host the public speaking competition every year. This year we’ve had an exceptional number of entries, of an exceptionally high standard. We are just delighted with our winner but we also feel that all the girls are winners, they’ve all put a lot of work into their speeches and have been well supported by the staff at their schools and their parents.”

Mrs. Hogg added: “I think the public speaking competition is one of the best things that we do as Soroptimists. Our strapline is empowering, educating and enabling and this is exactly what this competition does for young women in Fermanagh and we wish it could be bigger.”