Pupils talk their way to final

The Portadown College No. 1 debating team have won both the local and Northern Ireland heats of the Business and Professional Women's annual debating competition for schools and now go on to the UK final in Liverpool in March. Included in the photo are from left, school principal, Mr Simon Harper, team members, Katherine Whitten, Tim Neill and Alex Maxwell and head of English, Mrs Gladys Montgomery. INPT08-220.
The Portadown College No. 1 debating team have won both the local and Northern Ireland heats of the Business and Professional Women's annual debating competition for schools and now go on to the UK final in Liverpool in March. Included in the photo are from left, school principal, Mr Simon Harper, team members, Katherine Whitten, Tim Neill and Alex Maxwell and head of English, Mrs Gladys Montgomery. INPT08-220.
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A team of Portadown College students will be talking for Northern Ireland when they represent the province at a public speaking competition in England next month.

The team was one of two from the school which took first and second places respectively in the local and national rounds of the Business and Professional Women (BPW) competition.

The winning combination of Katherine Whitten (the speaker), Tim Neill (chairman) and Alex Maxwell (expresser of thanks) beat teams from Coleraine Grammar, Victoria College Belfast and Ballymena Academy with their speech in support of Ashers Bakery, with the theme being freedom of conscience.

They will give the same presentation when they travel to Moreton College in Shropshire where they will compete against the winning schools from England, Scotland and Wales on March 25.

The second College team of Sophie Heasley, Joanna Kerr and Kiara McClelland took as their topic migrant rights and again impressed the judges with their convincing arguments that the public should be doing more to help.

The pupils had to speak for at least four minutes as well as fielding questions including from the opposing teams.

Portadown College also took home some individual silverware with Tim winning the award for best chairman and Sophie for best expresser of thanks.

Head of English Gladys Montgomery, who helped prepare the students for the competition, said she was delighted with the wins.