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Students from Uxbridge College beat a team from independent St Helen's School to win through heats for a Rotary Club public speaking competition.

The team of three from Uxbridge College's Academy won the senior section of the local heats of the National Rotary Youth Speaks competition. They will now go through to the zone finals in Slough, which will be followed by District and National rounds.

The team consisted of 17 year old Muska Nizami - who stood in on the day of the competition for someone who was sick - Ismaila Ngum (17), the main speaker, and Sabyha Khan (16), who organised the team. The students, who spoke on the subject of 'Slang: Backward or Revolutionary?' are studying AS levels and A2 levels.

The event took place on Tuesday 1 December at Swakeleys School in Hillingdon, and the students picked up a trophy, £25 in vouchers each, and £75 vouchers for the College.

Presenting the awards, Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Shirley Harper O'Neill praised the poise and delivery of all the competitors, commenting also on the persuasive arguments for their causes - those that were there now know what "Wagwan" means (It's Jamaican slang derived from "What's Going On") and when to use it (anytime you need an alternative to "Hello").

The local heats were organised by the Rotary Club of Elthorne Hillingdon in conjunction with the other Rotary Clubs in the borough.

Dr Emma Greening, Chair of the Senior Section Judges said: "We were extremely impressed with the standard of competition in the Senior Section, but Uxbridge College really stood out. We enjoyed their choice of subject matter, and the way they used humour to demonstrate their argument. Ismaila made an enormous impact on the audience and for this reason we decided to award them the title."

Laraine Smith, Principal of Uxbridge College, said: "What fantastic news - we are over the moon particularly as we have won against another team from a really successful school. I would like to say a huge 'congratulations' to everyone involved. It takes a lot of guts to stand up in front of a crowd and speak, and a lot of organising to make sure it happens. The students were magnificent and they really did themselves and the College proud. I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next round."


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