Shropshire Star

Shropshire students battle it out in English festival

Students from a number of Shropshire schools have been battling it out in a bid to have the last word at the first spoken English festival to be hosted at Ellesmere College.

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Back from left are; Zak Roberts (Lakelands), Dan Williams (Lakelands), Tom Hughes (Corbet), Morgan Richards (Corbet), Alex Popplewell (Ellesmere), with Natt Kritchanarat (Ellesmere) at the front

Natt Kritchanarat joined students from Lakelands Academy, in Ellesmere, and the Corbet School, in Baschurch, to take the winning spot in one of the three areas of the inaugural Viva Voce Spoken English Festival.

There are now plans to expand the festival, which was held in the Arts Centre at Ellesmere College, for next year, with more schools taking part.

Daniel Bottom, head of English at Ellesmere College, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the way the inaugural Viva Voce Festival went and congratulations go to all those students who took part – the competition was keenly contested.

“There were three categories: The Grigoras Award for poetry recitation, The Bittmann Award for dramatic reading and The Chankseliani Award for presenting, and the judging was led by Mr Jack Swanston, head of higher education and careers at Repton School.

“The students demonstrated considerable confidence, precision and agility as they delivered their pieces, all within a four-minute time limit and to an extremely high standard.

“The Viva Voce Festival was the culmination of a lot of hard work and in order to help students prepare, they all took part in spoken English workshops on May 16, again held at Ellesmere College. These sessions were planned and delivered by our Year 12 International Baccalaureate (IB) students.

“The titles of the three Viva Voce categories are recognition for three of our Year 13 IB students whose passion for spoken English and oracy led to the Viva Voce programme itself.

“All three, Emma Bittmann, Iris Grigoras and Davit Chankseliani, represented Ellesmere College in public speaking competitions and all three won – a tremendous achievement..

“We are already looking forward to next year and building on the success of this year’s festival. The 2024 Viva Voce programme, including workshops and competition, will be expanded with more local schools taking part.”