Winners chosen in 8th ESU public speaking contest
The competition, co-hosted by the Korea JoongAng Daily and the British Embassy and supported by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), comprised three age groups, one for elementary, middle school and high school students.
Thirty contestants in each level, narrowed down from nearly 800 applicants, gave five-minute speeches prepared in English and answered questions from a panel of judges.
“Seeing you Korean kids getting up in front of people and giving speeches in a totally different tongue, I can only bow to you and say job well done and I hope you to continue your interest in English in the future,” Anthony Spaeth, chief editor of the Korea JoongAng Daily and one of the high school judges, said at the awards ceremony.
HSBC Korea CEO Martin Tricaud also personally attended the awards ceremony, where he handed out awards to the young contestants.
Kim Jin-hee, a student at Daejeon Hagi Elementary School, won the elementary school division, while Jie Yeo-won, who attends Cheongshim International Academy, took the top honor at the middle school level.
Jung Jae-yoon, who attends Eton College, won the grand prize in the high school division.
He is now set to face off against Seo Jeong-wu, the high school division winner from the seventh ESU Korea competition held in February, to determine who will go on to represent South Korea in the 2015 ESU International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in London.
Two high school winners are selected each year, one during the winter session and one in the summer session. The victor in the final match advances to the international contest.
“At first, I was afraid I might not win any award, but I’m so happy that I won the grand prize,” Jung told the Korea JoongAng Daily. “Now I look forward to a great competition with the previous winner.”
Jung, a 10th grader at Eton College in Britain, previously won the grand prize two years ago in the middle school division. He is the first contestant to win grand prizes in two different contests.
Korean student Kang Jeon-wuk took top honors in 2011 at the international tournament, in which 50 students from nearly 80 countries compete. High school junior Park Jae-hyun also took first place this year.
The ESU, based in London, is the first nonprofit educational organization to facilitate international communication using English. Internationally, there are more than 60 ESUs, including ESU Korea. The global offices operate autonomously and are supported by the central ESU office based at the Dartmouth House in London.
The ESU was founded by journalist Sir Evelyn Wrench in 1918, and runs a range of educational programs.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]