E-mails go back and forth. Would organizing online School finals for the annual junior speaking contest in TVWO 2 and TVWO 3 even work? The English teachers Ms Gould and Mrs Massaar were adamant though: the students had worked so hard and had delivered such excellent speeches in class, that not organizing the event would be a real pity. 

And so we decided to organize a special online edition of the 2021 Junior Speaking Contest. A smaller editon with 2 classes and 9 candidates in 2 sessions. Workspaces and bedrooms were brushed off for the occasion, as all candidates were in their own bedrooms. Classmates volunteered to join the meeting to, even though muted, cheer on the speakers. Jurors Mrs Massaar, Mr Bruinse, Mr Loth and Ms Gould had their notebooks and pens ready and I was fully prepared to host this unsual event.

This year’s theme is “AStoryThatMovedMe”. Douwe Waterbolk, Daan Mars, Anna-Sofie Hoek, Niels van der Lugt and Jasmijn van Wonderen were representatives for their class, T3t, on February 9th . Each speaker had prepared a 3-minute speech and each speech was followed by questions from our jurors. Even though the audience was particularly silent, the applause afterwards was well received.

After all speeches and questions Mr Bruinse and Mrs Massaar left the meeting for a 15-minute jury deliberation. After all candidates, jurors and audience members rejoined the event, the winner Anna-Sofie was pronounced.

Anna-Sofie Hoek had told a very personal story. A family story. A story that had not only moved her parents and herself, but also marked our history. And she told a story that would eventually move us on February 9th 2021. Anna-Sofie’s speech is called 140. A heartwarming and true story about her great grandmother Ali Horlings. With her role in the resistance during WWII she proved that life is all about gratitude and heroism. A life of trauma, loss and betrayal written up in the book Schoonebeek July 29, 1943.

 The jury emphasized Anna-Sofie’s good use of English, her clear structure and relevance in content. She told a heartwarming story with passion, still relevant today.

On February 16th Dana van Nort, Necati Özel, Simon Beverwijk and Esmee Roomer represented T2u. Jurors Ms Gould and Mr Loth and the audience listened to a variety of speeches that were all stories that had moved our candidates. After the jurors came back from deliberation Simon Beverwijk was pronounced winner of T2u.

Simon Beverwijk told us the story of ‘the Indian Shoecleaner’. Having onced lived in India, Simon told a story that moved him when he met an Indian Shoecleaner. As Simon said in his speech: These people would do anything for even 1 euro, whether that being cleaning shoes with no equipment, letting their 3 year old kids beg on the streets or even clean up human waste with only a plastic bag. In my opinion: inhumane". Simon’s story turned out to become a life lesson. A lesson of awareness and gratefulness.

The jury complimented Simon on his excellent fluency and also pointed out that the personal touch in his speech made his message come across strong and effectively.

The speeches that were held in this online edition of JSC were all good, the stories told were really moving, filled with personal experiences and all in very good English. The gift of speech is really something to be proud of, and this is just the beginning.

Anna-Sofie and Simon will represent Marnix College on the online Regional Finals held by vd Capellen College on March 4th. And who knows, they might even make it to the Nuffic JSC finals on April 13th.


Corine Poot