One of the aims of the Catenian Association is to advance the interests of young people.  In support of this, public speaking contests are arranged by local Catenian groups around the country for students in Catholic Education.  The Bristol Circle of the Catenian Association has been arranging such contests for over 50 years. 

Students and teachers from senior schools in the Clifton Diocese, together with family and friends, assembled at the Newman Hall in Bristol on Sunday afternoon 10th March for this year’s competition.  The judging panel was chaired by Michael Magier, a member of the Bristol Catenian Circle.  The other members of the panel were Clare Fraser, Headteacher, and Deacon James Patrick, Crown Court Judge. They are pictured here before the start of the contest.

Each of the ten speakers was introduced and allowed just four minutes to speak on their chosen subject.  Judges and audience were entertained to speeches on the following topics:  

How worried should we be about future developments in artificial intelligence?

Do we live in a genuinely meritocratic society nowadays?

Why do so many people support capital punishment for the most serious crimes?

How does the Church’s Just War theory apply to the Russia/Ukraine conflict?

All the speeches were interesting: a good deal of thought had been put into their preparation.  While the judges retired, refreshments were served.

After the interval, the students present were told about the Catenian Bursary Fund.  This Fund assists young Catholics, between the ages of 16 and 25, actively to involve themselves in projects for the benefit of the community, at home or abroad.  Grants are awarded according to the merits of each individual application.

The chair of the panel then commented on the quality of the speeches: it was not an easy task to choose the winner.  Terry Maggs, Vice President of the Bristol Catenians, presented each competitor with a certificate and a reward for taking part. The overall winner of the competition was Amy Lum Chi, a student at St Bernadette’s Catholic Secondary School in Bristol.  She was pleased to receive the Province 12 Trophy and will be invited to the national final which will be held in Manchester in September.

The Catenian Association is grateful to the teachers, who gave so much of their time working with the students, and to all those who supported them in their endeavours.  We hope that all who took part benefitted from the experience.