A PERSUASIVE and well-spoken group of Denbigh pupils have qualified for the regional heat of a public speaking competition.

The team of Denbigh High School year 8 pupils took part in the annual Youth Speaks Competition in January to explore the possibility of alien life and what it might look like.

The four-stage competition staged by the Rotary International of Great Britain and Ireland is designed to encourage the development of effective communication skills by asking pupils to formulate, practise and present a speech to a high standard and receive constructive feedback from experienced adjudicators.

The Denbigh team was the school's first entry in five years and spoke about the topic "Are We Alone?", asking the audience at Myddelton College, Denbigh to broaden their horizons and embrace the idea that life on other planets may be exciting, interesting and even beautiful.

The team competed against four other teams to win the Intermediate category and qualify for the district heat, while the main speaker, 13-year-old Molly Mersino, beat pupils four years her senior to scoop the Best Overall Speaker award.

Claire Tranmer, performing arts teacher, supported and coached the students leading up to the event. She said: “It was wonderful to have two Intermediate teams competing for the first time. They both did extremely well on the night, but to discover that the year 8 team actually won the competition was fantastic.

"Molly did so well to win the overall speaker prize too, considering she is just thirteen years old.

“It was amazing for the students to have the experience of speaking in front of an adult audience and they have all truly excelled themselves. I am so proud of them all.

Ms Tranmer added: “They prepared diligently for the competition, putting so much effort into researching their topics and learning the skills of public speaking.

“We're looking forward to the next round."

Hamilton Grantham, member of Denbigh Rotary Club, helped organise the event and expressed his excitement about the upcoming generation of public speakers. "It was a wonderful evening and my fellow Rotarians have been very inspired by our youth,” he said.

The Denbigh High School team will now take part in the district heats at Glyndwr University, Wrexham in March.