A sixth former was overjoyed to win a public speaking competition.

Sophia McDonnell, who is studying for her A-Levels at St. Joan of Arc’s Sixth Form, in High Street, Rickmansworth, triumphed in the Catenians Public Speaking Competition on Tuesday, March 6.

She beat competitors from other schools such as St Dominic’s Sixth Form College, in Harrow, and St. Michael’s Catholic School, in Watford.

Sophia impressed a panel made up of three judges with her speech on “Why Climate Change is the biggest challenge our world faces today”.

She described the experience: “It was a very nerve wracking experience, but extremely rewarding and I am so pleased I applied to do it.

“People have become desensitised to the subject of Climate Change and is was great to have the opportunity to provide a different perspective on it, making it more personal.”

Fellow sixth former Paddy Tighe also took part in the contest and prepared a speech on “The importance of Democracy”.

Peter Sweeney, head teacher at St. Joan’s, was full of praise about the students’ speeches.

He said: “As a school, we are very proud of both Paddy and Sophia for taking part in what is a very prestigious competition.

“The judges recognised the high calibre of entries this year, so we are delighted that Sophia was awarded first place in this regional heat.

“Sophia’s passion for her subjects shone through in what was a very thought provoking and interesting speech which was delivered with great conviction.”

Sophia will now go on to represent Region 8 at the national final at Manchester’s Conference Centre on Sunday, September, 9.