Ballymoney finalist to have final Say at Stormont

SPEAK OUT. Pictured at the local heat of Soroptimist International's Annual Youth Award Public Speaking Competition, are from left, Eimer McGuckian, Mrs Pat Wright (Organiser), winner Aisling Farren, Ms Sharon McCaffrey (Club President), Jodie McBride and Nicola Kelly.INBM6-12 9013F.
SPEAK OUT. Pictured at the local heat of Soroptimist International's Annual Youth Award Public Speaking Competition, are from left, Eimer McGuckian, Mrs Pat Wright (Organiser), winner Aisling Farren, Ms Sharon McCaffrey (Club President), Jodie McBride and Nicola Kelly.INBM6-12 9013F.

Aisling Farren has won the local Ballymoney heat for the opportunity to speak out at the Northern Ireland Final of Soroptimist International’s Annual Youth Award Public Speaking Competition, supported by Progressive Building Society, Northern Ireland’s largest locally owned mortgage lender.

She won one of only 14 coveted positions in the Final by winning the local Ballymoney club’s heat. Aisling, a pupil of St. Mary’s Grammar, Magherafelt, spoke on the topic ‘Tuition fees – back to the days when you needed class or brass to go to university?’

The competition annually attracts around 100 entries and, in this 30th anniversary year of the competition, the Final will take place on Saturday 25th February 2012 in the Great Hall in Stormont’s Parliament Buildings, hosted by Anna Lo MLA.

Hazel Holmlund, Northern Ireland Regional President of Soroptimist International, said, “This annual Public Speaking Competition continues to encourage girls to play a more prominent part in public life, to develop the skill to speak effectively and articulate with clarity, while developing self confidence and personality. At the final, as well as delivering a prepared speech each girl will be required to deliver an extempore speech without research. All the speeches will be judged on content, presentation, delivery and impact.

“The competition is designed specifically to target female Year 12 & 13 students who are in full time education in Northern Ireland. This year topics include ‘The European Union – a victim of its own success?’, ‘Tuition fees – back to the days when you needed class or brass to go to university?’, and ‘In today’s digital era anyone can be a citizen journalist – is that a good or bad thing?’”

Looking forward to hearing the speeches of the silver tongued finalists, Dr Joan Smyth, Chairman of the Progressive Building Society, said; “As Northern Ireland’s largest locally owned mortgage lender, Progressive is delighted to support this competition which is held in high regard amongst local educational establishments. I’m looking forward to hearing the speeches, which I know from attending previous finals, are of an exceptionally high standard. I’m regularly inspired by the young women and look forward to hearing what they have to say.”

At the Final, the winner will receive the Soroptimist Youth Award Perpetual Salver donated by Oneida Silversmiths and a replica, a bursary award of £250 towards her education, and an invitation to deliver a speech at the Soroptimist International joint North/South conference in Wexford, from 18th- 20th May 2012. The winner’s school will also receive a monetary award.