Student’s speech skills on national stage

Ballyhaunis student Rachel Lyons and Westport’s Sarah Murphy certainly have a way with words.

The two young wordsmiths have beaten off stiff competition from more than 100 students across Ireland to win a top finalist place in a national speech writing contest.

Ms Lyons is a student of Ballyhaunis Community School and Ms Murphy is a student at the Sacred Heart Secondary School, Westport.

The competition, run by the charity ActionAid, invited students to pen an oration with a global theme, focusing on women’s rights, poverty, or education.

Just nine students were selected nationwide for the competition final and Ms Lyons and Ms Murphy will now deliver their speeches at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, on March 3.

They will be competing for a top two winners position, which would see them get the opportunity to travel with their teachers to visit Nepal and see ActionAid at work firsthand.

CEO of ActionAid Ireland, Olga McDonogh, said the charity was delighted to see so many young people get involved in the competition and examine the issues of women’s rights, poverty, and education.

“Many of the ideas presented were very interesting and it was difficult to choose our finalists,” she continued. “However, Rachel and Sarah’s speeches really stood out in terms of both creativity and a very high standard of analysis.”


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