GROUPS from three schools took part in a public speech competition.

St Paul’s Catholic College and Burgess Hill Academy visited Burgess Hill Girls to take part in the Youth Speaks event, organised by the Burgess Hill Rotary Club.

Four teams competed to win the chance to move on to the next round, with each giving a speech on something they felt passionate about.

Jon Francies, principal at Burgess Hill Academy, said: “The event gave us the opportunity to speak publicly about something which we were passionate about and has certainly given us all some confidence with the experience it has provided.”

The teams had formed a month earlier with speeches written and practised over the following weeks.

They worked during lunchtimes and after school to make sure their speeches were spot on.

Mr Francies said: “We were fortunate enough to have two teams taking part this year.”

Meghan Plank, Oliver Briggs and Elido Vargas took part in team one, while Lewis Taylor, Connor Murphy and Harriet Woodhams formed team two.

Team one was first on.

Its topic was fake news and questioned whether we can trust the media.

The team urged the audience to stop and think before believing everything they saw online.

Burgess Hill Girls presented a speech on whether women should be taught self-defence in schools, followed by St Paul’s presentation on gender stereotypes.

Finally, Burgess Hill Academy’s team two presented a speech on artificial intelligence, gripping the audience and moving forward into the next round.

Mr Francies said: “All the students involved presented the Burgess Hill Academy very well.

“I shall certainly be participating next year and wish my luck to team two as they move forward into the next round.”