It was a Barnstaple one two in both categories of the Devon and Cornwall Rotary Youth Speaks competition.

The Petroc team went through in first place at the Rotary Youth Speaks 2020 contest for Devon and Cornwall, held before lockdown.The Petroc team went through in first place at the Rotary Youth Speaks 2020 contest for Devon and Cornwall, held before lockdown.

Held just before lockdown at Bodmin, the regional part of the contest saw The Park Community School take first in the intermediate final and Pilton Community College take second.

Petroc came second in the senior section, while Park were third, but because winners Plymouth withdrew, the Barnstaple teams went into first and second place.

The competition sees a team of students debate a topic, with a proposer, chair and opposer to argue their points.

There were individual accolades for Pilton’s Lucy Allix – the best intermediate chair; Park’s Niamh McLaughlin – best intermediate proposer; Park’s Boglarka Ungvari - best intermediate opposer and Park’s Cerys Wild – best senior chair.

The Pilton Community College team that achieved second in the intermediate section of the Devon and Cornwall Rotary Youth Speaks 2020, held before lockdown.The Pilton Community College team that achieved second in the intermediate section of the Devon and Cornwall Rotary Youth Speaks 2020, held before lockdown.

Unfortunately the subsequent South West finals had to be cancelled because of Covid-19.

The 20/21 Rotary District 1175 Governor William Wills, who presented the prizes, said: “The standard was very high and will set the students up with skills for life.

“I was particularly impressed with the high standard passing though North Devon’s heats this year and only sorry that the next two stages the regionals and the nationals had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.”

Ellie Colton, Pilton deputy headteacher, added: “We are very proud of the past success Pilton students have enjoyed at the Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition and it was great to see this year’s team continue that tradition.

Park Community School coach Indianna Jones celebrates as she hears the results at the Rotary District 1175 Youth Speaks event for Devon and Cornwall, held before lockdown.Park Community School coach Indianna Jones celebrates as she hears the results at the Rotary District 1175 Youth Speaks event for Devon and Cornwall, held before lockdown.

“They spoke passionately about the importance of school libraries in a digital world and would have progressed to the next round had it not been cancelled.

“A special mention should go to Lucy Allix who won ‘best chair’ and thank you to one of our parents, Louise Miller-Marshall for her support and coaching.”

The Park School seniors team achieved second place at the Rotary District 1175 Youth Speaks competition for Devon and Cornwall, held before lockdown.The Park School seniors team achieved second place at the Rotary District 1175 Youth Speaks competition for Devon and Cornwall, held before lockdown.