75 students from 42 schools in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry take part

: Ringing voices, alliterated quotations and personal insights characterised the final round of ‘Talk Your Way to Singapore’, a State-level elocution contest organised by Montfort School, Tiruchi. The two-day contest, which drew 75 students from 42 schools in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, wound up with 12 finalists voicing their views on a range of socially relevant topics.

Split into two groups and given topics in Tamil or English, the finalists used anecdotes, examples from the lives of renowned personalities and literary references to support their stands. Films and their impact on society; banning cricket if other sports were to be promoted; the one-sidedness of advertisements; and the thin line between greed and ambition were some of the topics given to the English team. The Tamil topics, toeing a more philosophical line revolved around the differences between want and greed; and the importance of small beginnings, compassionate acts and motherly love.

S.Sundarrajan, Director, National Institute of Technology-Tiruchi, said effective communication is a talent that needs to be nurtured in students between age five and fifteen.

“India has a considerable edge over other countries like China, Russia, Korea and Japan because we have the capacity to communicate effectively in English,” he said. He also added that alongside academic prowess, it was the communication skills of a student which fetched him or her professional success. Also present at the event were A.M. Arun, Chairman and Managing Director, Vasan Healthcare Ltd., and R. Venkatasubramanian, General Manager, City Union Bank.

The first place among English speakers went to Akansha Ajith from Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai, and the second place was bagged by D. Tharunya from Vidya Niketan Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Coimbatore.

Among the Tamil speakers, R.C. Shanjeev Kumar from Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Erode, won the first place, while Aruna Mathangi from Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai. While the English speakers were judged by G. Balakrishnan, Aparna Karthikeyan and Shirley Deepak, the Tamil speakers were evaluated by R. Elangovan, Meenakshi and Asiya Thara.

The first place winners won themselves an all expenses paid trip to Singapore (along with one parent) for four days in their upcoming summer holidays; the second place winners will be going to Colombo; and the remaining participants were given cash prizes ranging from Rs.1000 and Rs.5000.

The event, organised by Montfort School, was supported by City Union Bank (associate sponsor) and Livia Polymer Bottles Pvt. Ltd. (supporting sponsor). The Hindu and Dinamalar were the media sponsors.