News & Events

Semi-Final of the Chrystall Carter Public Speaking Competition

The English Department very much proved we are all ‘carrying on as normal’ as much as possible on Thursday 28th January 2021 by hosting the semi-final of the annual GDST public speaking competition. Known as ‘The Chrystall Prize’, the competition rewards participants for their ability to engage an audience, their genius at crafting and adapting their language to suit audience and purpose, and for their clarity of expression. Last year’s entry from Sarena Yogendran in Y12 brought home the trophy… So how did Saathana Waran our champion for 2021 do?

Saathana spoke brilliantly on whether society ought to change the labels of racial identity. She was also the bravest candidate by far, choosing to stand up and talk directly to the camera, which was praised by the judges. The judges also praised Saathana for her mix of formal and colloquial languag

Croydon High alumna Alex Gowlland

e and for her welcoming body language. It was Jude from Blackheath, however, who moves forward to the final round. She was praised for her structure, genuine engagement with the subject and for providing counter arguments. Emilia from Sydenham was a worthy runner up, and she was praised for her subject knowledge and for her responses to questions.

This year’s competition  took a radically different format, with all participating schools dialling in over Zoom and with Y10 provi~;ding a live audience. Y10 were highly engaged: Shenai, Emily Mo, Chloe, Nina, Maddie, Ambreen, Jemima, Angel and Emily Ma all had their questions selected by the judges. I wonder if they will audition next year? I hope so!

We were delighted to host three judges for the competition this year: Teddy Totman, former property lawyer and Chair of Governors for Sutton High GDST; Dr Vivek Muthu, Former Global Head of Healthcare, Economist Intelligence Unit and Director of Lamellar Biomedical; and Croydon High alumna Alex Gowlland, former Government speech writer and current Deputy Director for Provider Efficiency, Accountability and Sponsorship, Department of Health and Social Care. We are incredibly grateful for them to be so giving of their time in the current situation.

Well done Saathana, you are still a star in our eyes.

Mrs Tooke said

“A wonderful opportunity for the brave participants to develop their public speaking skills –  a skill that, no matter what path our pupils choose to follow, will be very much put to the test throughout their careers. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively, inspire and persuade is one to be nurtured and honed; it was fantastic for all of our Year 10 pupils to be able to listen to such a high standard of thought provoking speeches and then respond with probing questions. Many congratulations to Saathana and all the audience for their participation. I am already looking forward to next year!”


Miss Howie

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