The semifinal round of Muscat Daily Listen Up, an inter-school public speaking competition, began on Sunday. Shatti al Qurm School was the first school to kick-start the process of selecting finalists in different categories.
The event has got schools and students in Muscat all geared up to showcase their oratorical skills. The competition aims at providing a platform for students to express their public-speaking skills in three categories - junior (8-10 years), middle (11-14 years) and senior (15-18 years).
At least 16 schools are participating in the semifinal round. Within the three categories, each student is required to speak impromptu as well as read a prepared speech.
Earlier, the Muscat Daily Listen Up team encouraged the participating schools to organise in-house preliminary rounds to select five students for the semifinal round in each category.
The aim was to encourage maximum participation in each school. In an exception to the rule of ‘three categories’, Shatti al Qurm School saw participation in the senior category only. The school had ten participants in the semifinal.
The depth of thought and enthusiasm for the event reflected in the well-prepared speeches of the ten contestants on topics such as 'Global warming - fact or fiction', 'Social networking - pros and cons', 'The world’s obsession with weight', Is racism alive in your society?', 'Who can come to dinner? Choose three famous people from past to present'.
While the event saw close competition among the contenders, Mazoon Said Ali al Zidjali wowed the audience with her prepared speech on 'Social Networking' and a hilarious impromptu on 'Housemaids'. Mazoon will now compete for top honours at the finals to be held on April 29 at Grand Hyatt, Muscat.
A certificate of participation was given to the ten students. The panel of three judges - Salma Abdulla al Mandhari, senior teacher at the school, Ghaya Ali al Maskary and Latifa Mohammed al Tamami, regional supervisors of schools, Muscat - was happy with the performance of the students. Ghaya said, “This is a wonderful event. There is so much talent out there. When we were their age, we couldn’t have done this.”