All students at Junior and Senior levels are encouraged to participate in the very successful and vibrant Public Speaking teams. To date, both Junior and Senior teams have been very successful in competitions, winning Connaught and All Ireland titles in the past 2 years.
Knights of St. Columbanus Public Speaking Competition 2019:
On Saturday, March 9th 2019 the Senior Public Speaking team from Castlerea Community School were crowned winners of the fifth annual Knights of St Columbanus Public Speaking Competition 2018-19. The team chose from eighteen topics offered under five sections. The one selected by the team was from the section entitled: ‘Living the Christian Life’ and was in response to ‘If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat. That’s not news. It seems normal. It cannot be this way.’ – Pope Francis speaking at Audience, June 2013. Preparations for the competition began in December and the competition consisted of rounds at Diocesan level followed by Provincial level, with two or three teams progressing to the All-Ireland Final from each province. The team from Castlerea won first place at the Diocesan Final held at Abbey Community College, Boyle on February 14th and progressed from the Connacht Final held in Knock House Hotel on February 28th to the All Ireland in NUI, Maynooth in March.
The Castlerea CS team consisted of Aoibhe D’Arcy, Maureen Quinn, Nathan Green and Ronan Tumbek, with Aoibhe as Captain starting the day’s proceedings with an eloquent introduction to the issue of World Hunger. Maureen followed this with a passionate discussion pertaining to real-world examples of hardship and Nathan presented a powerful conclusion detailing initiatives that have been put in place to address the issue both in Ireland and internationally. All arguments were supported by the students’ lived faith experiences and their faith formation within family, parish and school. Their central thesis was reinforced throughout by church teaching, encyclicals and Biblical references.
The standard of competition at the All-Ireland final was commended by both the adjudicators and Co-ordinator of the competition, Mr Seamus McDonald (Knight). Two teams were awarded the runner-up prize; St Joseph’s College, Garbally, Ballinasloe and Killina Presentation Secondary School, Tullamore. On announcing Castlerea Community School as winners of the All-Ireland competition, they were highly commended on their focus on lived examples of faith as well as their in-depth knowledge of scripture. Their presentation of the topic was outstanding, with balance, depth and excellent teamwork evident throughout. On the announcement of the winning team, there were jubilant scenes among the assembled group from Castlerea CS including the team, their mentors, families and friends and other members of the school community who travelled to support the team on this momentous occasion. The immense achievement of this team was noted, as they are the first winners of the Knights of St Columbanus Public Speaking Competition from Connacht and the first school from the Community School sector to win at this level.
The team at Castlerea Community School are most grateful to Justin Harkin, Diocese of Elphin Education Secretariat, Seamus McDonald, Knight of St Columbanus and organiser of the competition, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, adjudicators of all the rounds, Ms Eileen Ryan, Principal CCS and Mr Jarlath Burke, Deputy Principal CCS and the staff and families of Castlerea Community School for their unwavering support and encouragement.
Western Region Drug & Alcohol Task Force (WRDATF) 2nd year Public Speaking Competition 2018
2017 – 2018 has been a very successful year for our 2nd year Public Speaking team who not only won first place in the county finals of the WRDATF public speaking competition, but also went on to win the Regional Final held in Claremoris in May 2018. Katelyn Hester represented Castlerea Community School and spoke about Alcohol and Young people – the parental role. She was supported by Shauna Flynn, Heaven Evelyn, Rachel Keane and Emma D’Arcy. Katelyn gave a very powerful and informative speech and was a very worthy winner. She encouraged parents and guardians to inform, guide and protect their children around alcohol use. The standard of delivery was very high on the day and Katelyn and her team were thrilled to be awarded first prize.
Thanks to Ms. Larkin and Mr. Nealon for mentoring the team.