Holyrood Secondary School wins prestigious national public speaking competition

Holyrood Secondary School won the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) national schools public speaking competition held at Parliament House.

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Winners of the competition, Rose Usher and Mairin Campbell-Thow, with the Lord Advocate, Crown Agent David Harvie and Lesslie Young, chief executive of Epilepsy Scotland. Pic: Crown Office
Winners of the competition, Rose Usher and Mairin Campbell-Thow, with the Lord Advocate, Crown Agent David Harvie and Lesslie Young, chief executive of Epilepsy Scotland. Pic: Crown Office

Mairin Campbell-Thow and Rose Usher, both 13 and in S2 at the Glasgow school, teamed up to triumph in a keenly contested final at a packed court in Edinburgh.

They emerged victorious after going head-to-head with teams from Edinburgh Academy and Hamilton Grammar on the topic “If you were the Equalities Minister for Scotland what is the first piece of legislation you would introduce and why?”

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This years’ competition involved 104 pupils from 38 schools across Scotland.

Presenting the trophy to the winners the Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC said: “Mairin and Rose triumphed in the final but the standard of debate and presentation we have heard throughout the competition has been a real testament to the passion and skills of the young people who have taken part.

“It has been a pleasure to see pupils come together in the spirit of friendly competition to develop confidence in their public speaking skills and engage in spirited debate addressing important issues relating to diversity and equality.”

At the competition, The Lord Advocate was asked what guidance she would have given her thirteen year old self and answered: “Don’t think that your potential and your ability is restricted or determined by your social or economic circumstances. With hard work, commitment and self-belief you can genuinely achieve what you want to in life.

“Mindset is critical to achieving the success you wish for. Think why you can do something rather why you cannot. Approach your future on the basis that it is not where you come from but where you are going that matters.”

Commenting on their victory, team coach Craig Charlick, said: "I am delighted that Mairin and Rose won the competition as it is a reward for their own efforts over many years, and pays tribute to everyone who has helped them get to this point."

The COPFS national schools public speaking competition is part of the work done by Scotland's prosecution service to improve understanding of equality and diversity issues.

It is one part of the service’s strategy to reach out to communities and young people in Scotland and engage them in discussion and debate on important issues.