On January 23rd in Minsk, Belarus, the "Speaker of the Year" tournament was held at the Minsk Palace of Children and Youth. The tournament included prepared and impromptu speeches, in which students competed in English. The team from gymnasium number three from Borisov, Belarus attended the tournament, and said that even though they had been debating since September 2009, this tournament was unique. The venue and the type of debate rounds were all new to them, but in the end, they said it was an unforgettable experience.
The prepared speech round featured debaters practicing their dramatic skills in reciting prose, as they gave speeches varying from Martin Luther King, Jr., Hilary Clinton, and even Winnie-the-Pooh. The winners of these prepared speeches were Irina Makovchik (1st), Emma Mkhitaryan (2nd) and Alice Begoun (3rd). The best speakers of the impromptu category were Alice Begoun (1st place) and Emma Mkhitaryan (2nd place).
Irina Makovchik, from the Borisov team, took first place in the prepared speech category with a selection from Winnie-the-Pooh. She said, “When they told me I was the winner, I felt both happy and perplexed at the same time. There were so many really good speakers that I didn't expect to take first place. I like it here because of the friendly atmosphere and lots of interesting people around. So, try your hand at debate!"