Last weekend, Xaverian students Jeffrey Sefa-Sarpong and Liaba Mohammad took part in the annual Catenian Public Speaking Competition.
The competition, which is open to all students aged 16 to 18 years who attend Catholic Schools, brings together the winners from regional competitions held earlier in the year, to present their speech to a panel of judges at the finals in Manchester.
Students were asked to write and deliver a four-minute speech on a subject of their choice, and Liaba had the unenviable task of opening the competition with her speech, ‘Success covers a multitude of blunders’. Liaba commanded the stage with confidence, poise, and maturity and later in the day Jeffrey took to the stage to impress the audience with his speech, ‘Emotional wellbeing, it matters’, and spoke with conviction, passion, and sincerity.
Liaba, former MEA Central student, is currently in her first year of studying A Level Business, Psychology and Sociology at Xaverian. She said: “I have always loved public speaking, I enjoy the thrill of it and the rewards and fulfilment once you’ve delivered something.
“On the lead up to the competition, Miss Mason taught us so many great skills – projection, pace, how to use the space around us, how to address the audience and so much more. This really helped fill me with confidence when it came to the finals.
“I chose to study at Xaverian because of the opportunities Teachers create and the College community – everyone is really enthusiastic about learning, which makes it a great place to be. I am enjoying all of the subjects I study, and they are all helping me gain new skills that I can apply in the real world.”
Jeffery, who also joined the College in September 2023 after completing his GCSEs at Cardinal Langley RC High School, said: “I chose to take part in the competition because I hadn’t done anything similar before and it was completely outside of my comfort zone. I have been able to develop so many new skills and with lots of practice, I was able to deliver an authentic speech in the final, on a fairly abstract topic.
“Before I applied to Xaverian I knew it would be a place where I could develop my sense of character, both personally and academically. I am a very analytic thinker, so I really enjoy studying Maths, Further Maths and Physics and often get ‘oh, that makes sense now’ moments. I’m also studying Philosophy, Ethics and Theology, which compliments my other subjects well, as many scholars approach their theory in the same rational manner that is evident in Maths and Science.”
The judges highly commended both students for their heartfelt and moving compositions. Jeffrey won third place and Liaba was a runner up.
Jen Mason, Assistant Divisional Lead/English Literature Curriculum Leader, commented: “In today’s world it is essential that young people equip themselves with the skills to communicate confidently, clearly and effectively. It was an incredibly close competition, but both students were extremely impressive and inspirational. I am enormously proud of their efforts – they are a real credit to Xaverian.” One of the things that sets Xaverian apart is our commitment to enriching students’ futures outside of the classroom. The Xaverian Xtras Enrichment gives students a chance to get involved in fantastic opportunities that are fun, interesting and educational, and will give them a really fulfilling College experience. To find out more visit xaverian.ac.uk