Schoolgirls speak out at Soroptimist International competition

Alice Chapman, President of Soroptimist International of Northern Ireland, with competition winners (l-r) Sarah Logan (Ballyclare Secondary School), Robyn Millar (Ballyclare Secondary School), Natasha McGowan (Larne Grammar) and Jessica Neve Smith (Ballyclare High). INNT 49-501-SO
Alice Chapman, President of Soroptimist International of Northern Ireland, with competition winners (l-r) Sarah Logan (Ballyclare Secondary School), Robyn Millar (Ballyclare Secondary School), Natasha McGowan (Larne Grammar) and Jessica Neve Smith (Ballyclare High). INNT 49-501-SO

Three Ballyclare schoolgirls were among the winners at the annual Northern Ireland Soroptimist International Public Speaking Competition.

The heat for girls in the Newtownabbey and District post-primary schools area was held in Monkstown Village Centre on Monday, November 30.

Alice Chapman, President of Soroptimist International of Northern Ireland, with pupils from Ballyclare High, Larne Grammar, Abbey Community College and Ballyclare Secondary School who took part in the public speaking competition. INNT 49-500-SO

Alice Chapman, President of Soroptimist International of Northern Ireland, with pupils from Ballyclare High, Larne Grammar, Abbey Community College and Ballyclare Secondary School who took part in the public speaking competition. INNT 49-500-SO

For the purposes of the competition, the catchment area covers Newtownabbey, Ballyclare and up the Co Antrim coast, taking in schools in the Larne area.

There were entries from four schools this year - Ballyclare High School, Ballyclare Secondary School, Larne Grammar School and the newly established Abbey Community College in Monkstown.

The competition adjudicators were Mrs Anne Watson, Chair of Newtownabbey Senior Citizens’ Forum and Mrs Jackie Gilmour, Soroptimist International (SI). The event organiser was Miss Isobel McComb, Past President of SI Newtownabbey and District.

The schoolgirls gave some impressive speeches, with the following being selected as the winners on the night: 1st, Sarah Logan, Ballyclare Secondary School; 2nd, Robyn Millar, Ballyclare Secondary School; 3rd, Natasha McGowan, Larne Grammar School; 4th, Jessica Neve Smith, Ballyclare High School.

Soroptimist International Newtownabbey and District Club had to close earlier this year due to falling numbers. But with the help of the NI Regional Committee, local Soroptimists are hoping to continue the annual public speaking competition.

Run in association with SI Ireland, the competition’s two overall regional winners will be invited to the joint North-South Conference in May 2016.

Last year, Newtownabbey district winner Nicole Reid won fourth prize in the overall competition.