10 Sixth Form students took part in the 2022 Lectern Society speeches on 16 March as part of the co-curricular programme. Lower Sixth Former Anna Marshall writes about the competition:
Nerves tugged at the ten participants of Lectern Society on Wednesday the 16th of March. The prospect of performing a five-minute-long speech in front of a sixty-person audience was daunting, yet it seemed the candidates had little to worry about. Behind the lectern, each participant glimmered with immense creativity, responding deftly to questions and conjuring notions about whether being forgotten is a natural part of being alive. The stimulus of ‘As an individual, you have no say on change, no influence, and are destined to repeat others’ prompted diverse, engaging speeches. From Hitler and Thunberg to neurology, feminism, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, nihilism, and Lawrence of Arabia, the evening was inimitable. I am exceedingly proud of each participant who spoke, in particular, the commitment and individuality they all brought to the event.
Jess Kneeshaw is worthy of praise, for providing a musical interlude on the piano. The evening was facilitated by the English department, courtesy of Mrs Tomlinson. Our two judges, Mrs Lisa Hutchinson, and Ms Julie Franks breathed ingenuity, rapport and intellect into their adjudication process, and our fantastic timekeeper Mrs Wilson ensured speech duration ran smoothly. Guests enjoyed excellent wine and canapés that truly elevated the evening. Kai Swanborough’s poster and invitation design must not go unmentioned, planting a myriad of them around the school site to support his peers.
I cannot conclude my thanks without congratulating the top three candidates. Autumn Flanagan took home third place, for her intertwining speech of history, control, and inevitability. Her passion was palpable, unforgettable and, in all, inspiring
Isadora Philip’s words danced and struck, hauntingly beautiful in her piece on the suffragettes, gifting voices to the silenced women of the past and present. This, rightly, awarded her second place.
First place went to Henry Hudson, securing the Sir Paul Bryan Public Speaking Cup. The audience was captivated with his linking of dictators to environmental activists. Henry warned of tyranny, beatifically subverting the idea of great power and great responsibility.
In addition to these three winners, I would again like to commend every one of the ten participants: Harry Newbould and his ingenious historical inference, Isadora Philip, Autumn Flanagan, Henry Hudson, Sophia Lisboa’s moving, poignant take on ignored women of colour, Vivi Mayman’s ranging from footballers to the Kardashians, John Baker’s witty stance on determinism and quantum physics, Phoebe Anderson and rebelling against history, Jenni Harrison’s questions of if we are predetermined to be forgotten, and of course, George Walster’s stunningly well-crafted ideas of love, nihilism, and humanity.
The breadth of variety was something I did not anticipate would stem from my stimulus, and the camaraderie and good sportsmanship between friends made the evening unforgettable. To everyone involved, to everyone that attended: it was a great honour to host Lectern Society 2022.
Anna Marshall, Lower Sixth
Please see below a gallery of photographs.