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York Castle student Wins Rita Marley Public Speaking Competition

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2016 | 12:01 AMShereita Grizzle
First-place winner Bobby Francis of the York Castle High School.
Rita Marley

There was no denying York Castle High's Bobby Francis the champion title at the second annual Rita Marley Foundation Public Speaking Competition.

Held recently in the multifunction room at the University of the West Indies (Mona) main library, the competition got off to a late start due to the inclement weather. Francis was one of the students who got delayed, but made it in time for the start of the competition.

An overwhelmed Francis told The Gleaner that the weather played a part in him being late, but he was happy he made it to the competition in time.

"Along with the weather, we had some technical difficulties," he said. "The bus was giving problems, it just wouldn't start; but I'm glad I made it here eventually, and I feel extremely honoured that persons understood my situation and were willing to delay the programme a bit for me."

He also expressed joy at winning. "I'm extremely happy. I was nervous, but I remembered how much work my teachers and I put into this, so I held my composure and did what I needed to do. It wasn't easy because the other competitors were great speakers and the results were so close, but I'm glad everything worked in my favour."

Ten students, from as many high schools, presented on the topic, 'Women Are the Foundation and Driving Force for Success'. Some students delivered speeches in favour of the topic, while others presented opposing arguments. Francis supported the topic and was one of the standout contestants during the first round. Not only did his speech indicate that Francis did his research, but his style of delivery also captured the attention of both the judges and the audience. During his speech, Francis involved the audience in his discussion by declaring that he was going to have a conversation with them to help them see his points.




Defining several key terms from the topic, Francis proceeded to use the analogy of a house to support his stance. Francis referred to women as the foundation of the house and men as the windows, doors, and roof. He then proceeded to say that without women being the firm foundation on which the house is built, then all other components of the structure would collapse. His point was supported by several members of the audience who, under Francis' instruction, recalled the contributions of their mothers in their own personal success. His presentation earned him a spot in the final round of competition, along with last year's winner, Xaundre Mohansingh and Haile Selassie High School's Martenek Phipps.

With the students tackling a new topic for the final round of competition, Mohansingh and Phipps put up a really good fight for the title. They analysed the topic, 'Bob Marley said so much trouble in the world, all you have to do is give a little. Share your thoughts on how you would make the world a better place', before presenting their ideas to the judges. Though Francis emerged the winner by the end of the competition, his victory was no easy feat as he was challenged all the way by the other finalists.

The competition was so close that a mere 0.5 points separated the first- and second-place winners. Mohansingh nabbed the second-place spot, while Phipps took third place.