HARD hitting and controversial subjects will be covered by teams of Black Country students during Rotary International’s annual Youth Speaks competition.

‘Rape’ and ‘social media exposed’ are two of the subjects teams from five local schools will speak about when they gather in Kinver on Tuesday, January 24 – taking the first steps to becoming champions of the UK and Ireland.

Nine teams from Kinver High School, Ellowes Hall Sports College, Ounsdale High School, High Arcal Sports Science College and Leasowes School will compete in the competition, run locally by Kinver Rotary Club.

Each school will field teams of three students comprising of a proposer, main speaker and vote of thanks proposer, in intermediate and senior categories.

They will be judged by a panel headed by Sir Geoff Hampton, vice chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, supported by representatives of Stourbridge and Wolverhampton speakers clubs.

Kinver Rotarian Chris Elcock, who has headed the organisational team at Kinver, said: “The competition gives the youngsters experience in speaking on a public platform, the formulation of ideas on a topical subject and dealing with that topic in an allocated time.

“The students themselves have chosen the subjects for discussion and we expect some pithy and controversial presentations that we know will include rape and social media.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of three eminent judges who will give impartial criticism and assessment of expression, presentation and the general standard of the performance.”

Members of the winning team in both categories will each received £25 and 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 Rotary International Britain and Ireland network will compete for the overall title of Youth Speaks champions.