Debating & Public Speaking
Double Trouble: Sacred Heart Students win BPW Public Speaking Competition for Second Year Running
On Saturday the 24th November 2012, Sacred Heart students made history as they claimed the title of National Champions in the All Ireland Public Speaking Competition hosted by the Business and Professional Women’s Association (BPW). Mentored by Ms Patricia Lowry, sixth year pupils Ciara Jaffray, Jessica Watts and Ciara Molloy successfully defended their title for the second successive year with their speech ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’.
The final saw a variety of schools from all over Ireland, including Coláiste Einde from Co. Galway, Mountrath Community School from Co. Laois and the Convent of Mercy from Co. Roscommon, converging upon the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway for the culmination of this prestigious event. The four teams had previously won the regional competitions in their locality, and needless to say each group brought unique and dynamic presentations to the floor.
Each presentation lasted approximately fifteen minutes and was held in a meeting format. The diverse topics ranged on the day from ‘Men vs. Women’ to ‘The Joy of Poetry’ to ‘The Children’s Referendum’, and at the end of each presentation an unprepared question from the adjudicators was directed at the speaker from each team. The adjudicators commented on the intriguing choice of subject matter by each group, and the extraordinarily high standard brought by each team to the competition.
After a tense forty minutes of deliberations, the Sacred Heart School were eventually declared winners and reclaimed the BPW cup for the second year in a row. This follows on from their success in 2011 when they won the National Competition with their speech on ‘Ageism in Irish Politics’. The judges later remarked on the originality and creativity of their motivational presentation on ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, and the Sacred Heart girls were complimented on the strong rapport between team members and their powerful engagement with the audience during the presentation.
During the deliberations, young entrepreneur Tara Haughton, inventor of RossoSolini Designer Soles, spoke to the teams and their supporters in relation to her experience of the business world. As a winner of the National Enterprise Award, The Kildare Enterprise award, the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Award and the Sean Lemass Enterprise award, Tara’s motivational speech highlighted the need for other young entrepreneurs to help revolutionize the Irish business world.Seventeen year old Tara currently exports her products to over twenty four countries worldwide, and her account of her phenomenal achievements to date proved inspirational to everyone present.
The Business and Professional Women’s Association was founded in Ireland in the 1960’s on the basis of providing a forum for the voice of all young women, and their endorsement and promotion of the BPW Public Speaking Competition is highly commendable. The competition provides the opportunity for young women to augment their public speaking skills, and instils in them a sense confidence which will prove seminal when they emerge into the business world. Congratulations to the Sacred Heart pupils and to their mentor Ms. Lowry for their outstanding victory in this highly esteemed contest.