Performing arts increase personal confidence

6 Dec 2019 10:48
Published by: Daniel Almond

“ANY reduction in the availability of performance arts education in schools reduces the opportunities for students to build resilience, confidence and character,” Charlotte Rea declared at this year’s Westhoughton Rotary Youth Speaks competition.

She felt that her performing experience had enabled her to be much more confident and overcome her initial shyness. 

In a winning presentation, her Westhoughton High School Senior team A tackled the subject ‘Disappearance of the Arts from the secondary curriculum’. Rotarians noted that this confidence had helped her to be part of a winning team for the second year in a row. 

Backed by chairperson Hatice Sahin and proposer of the vote of thanks, Kuda Chimbizi, she  outlined how the current decrease in Creative Arts education was reducing much needed opportunities for self-expression. She worried that the subject was disappearing from our schools in a country which had achieved so much success in the arts worldwide. 

Rotary Past President Phil Wood welcomed the audience of students, parents, staff and Rotarians explaining that they had the exciting prospect this year of listening to no less than six teams from Westhoughton High School, three Senior and three Intermediate. 

After the teams drew for the order of presentation, Intermediate team A spoke first. Madison Redeout introduced their topic of ‘The importance of wellbeing’ before speaker Emily Stephens-Thomas explained how being positive helped students to adopt a calm and better attitude to problems. She asked parents and teachers to remember that what they say and how they react can assist or damage students’ self-belief. Roma Rajput proposed the vote of thanks. 

Next, Intermediate team C, Macy Mansfield, Macy Brown and Hannah Evason, highlighted the level of poverty experienced by millions of girls in the third world. So many of them were prevented from improving themselves through education by the demands of arranged marriages, enforced carers’ roles and even physical attacks on girls schools. 

Jemima Mohmed of Senior team B asked ‘Are there organisms on other planets?’. Sophia Eliot and Ayisha Yasar agreed with her conclusion that with 30 billion planets in our galaxy alone, there must be other people or other forms of organism existing somewhere. 

After Senior team A, it was Senior team C lead by speaker Ella Tinniswood presenting the topic of ‘Flaws in the school setting system & how they affect students’. Ella, Louise Warburton and Alissia Partington felt that the UK school system was far from stress free thanks to the importance given to examinations. Evidence from other higher achieving countries showed the benefits of off timetable days and a reduction in the level of individual homework. 

Katie Walker, Jessica Lomax and Grace Fahey in Intermediate team B discussed the final topic, ‘The dangers of street harassment,’  concentrating their attention on the particular dangers for girls. A recent survey concluded that 35% of women had been sexually harassed usually by complete strangers. They stressed the importance of convincing the general public that it was always unacceptable in order to start the process of outlawing this behaviour.  

The overall winners were Senior team A of Hatice Satin, chairperson, Charlotte Rea, speaker and Kuda Chimbizi, proposer of the vote of thanks. The Jack Cowburn Cup was then presented to the winners by Bernard Howes and Margaret Cowburn, together with a book token for each winning  team member. All of the competitors were congratulated  on their performances and presented with individual certificates. 

Intermediate team B consisting of Katie Walker, chairperson, Jessica Lomax, speaker and Grace Fahey, proposer of the vote of thanks were second and would go forward to the District Heat in Bolton in early 2020 together with the overall winners. 

Bernard Howes and his fellow judges, Mrs Sheena Yates and Mrs Joan Bailey, were thanked for their work. Thanks were also expressed to Margaret Cowburn for her consistent interest and support for Youth Speaks. Tribute was paid to the Westhoughton High School teachers for their commitment to their students and this competition. They were congratulated on entering a record number of teams.


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