YOUNG Black Country orators are celebrating after reaching the second round of a national public speaking competition.

Six students from Kinver High School and The High Arcal School, in Sedgley, took the spoils in the first round of the Rotary International’s ‘Youth Speaks’ contest.

Organised by the Rotary Clubs of Kinver, Sedgley and Wombourne, Kinver High School triumphed in the intermediate category with High Arcal taking the senior title ahead of Dudley’s Ellowes Hall Sports College, Wombourne’s Ounsdale High School, and Leasowes School, in Halesowen.

Each school fielded teams of three students comprising proposer, main speaker and vote of thanks proposer in the 11 to 13-year-old and 14 to 17-year-old categories.

They were judged by a panel headed by Sir Geoff Hampton, vice chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, alongside representatives of Stourbridge and Wolverhampton Speakers Clubs.

Kinver’s team chose ‘rape’ as their discussion topic, while High Arcal opted for ‘the pressure of being a teenager in 2017’.

Sir Geoff told the Kinver High School audience that the difference between all the teams was “miniscule, minute”, but one of the deciding factors was the speakers’ adherence to strict time allocations – signified by a series of coloured lights.

Members of the winning teams each received £25 and now go forward to the district round to be held in Coventry.

That will be followed by a regional round whose victors will proceed to the national finals in which teams from schools across the entire RIBI network will compete for the overall title of ‘Youth Speaks Champions’.