Lectern Club – “Fortune Favours the Brave”

Late in November, the Master and Mrs Burbury invited a group of Sixth Form students to the Lodge for the second Lectern Club of the year. The chosen prompt for the evening’s speakers was “Fortune favours the brave.” 

 

[Ollie’s Speech – Just Try]

Ollie started off the night with his short speech entitled ‘Just Try’ which immediately set the tone for an amazing evening. His use of personal anecdotes touched the audience with his references to his triumphs in football and other aspects of life. To the audience, it was clear to see how much this speech meant to him. To add on to that, his use of humour, especially in the joke ‘A.I’ which he said stood for ‘Alex Intelligence’ in reference to Mr Duncan, had the audience captivated until the end. Ollie made the point of his speech clear. Sometimes all it takes is for you to just have the courage to have a go.

 

[Sissi’s Speech – The Fear of Failure]

Sissi was the second short speaker of the night and her speech explored the fears of failure by delving into her personal experiences and by emphasising her almost obsession with academic success. However, she reflected on her time at Marlborough and described it as a transformative journey in which she overcame insecurities and embraced her mistakes as she stepped out of her comfort zone to embrace new experiences such as taking up tennis. Overall Sissy’s speech aimed to focus on the fact that she’s most proud of the personal growth that she made during her time at MCM rather than the success that she had because she was able to gain valuable connections with people and harness newfound skills which, to Sissi, illustrated that fortune did favour the brave. Sissi captivated the audience throughout her entire speech having memorised her words and not looking at her script once. Her unwavering eye contact and engaging tone enraptured the room. 

 

[Jae Ann’s Speech – Calculated Bravery]

Jae Ann was the final speaker for the short speeches with a speech entitled ‘Calculated Bravery’. Beginning with a personal anecdote, she shared that, in her family, Chinese New Year festivities included a ban on gambling imposed by her grandfather. While gambling can be perceived as a brave endeavour, it is ultimately a “blind pursuit of fortune”. Using this anecdote as her premise, Jae Ann eloquently argued that bravery itself does not necessarily equate to fortune; instead, she contended that one must be brave enough to “place bets with a calculated hand of wisdom”. Throughout her speech, Jae Ann artfully maintained the theme of games and gambling as an extended metaphor, captivating the audience with her well-crafted and thoroughly enjoyable speech.

 

[Angelina’s Speech – Unravelling the tapestry of fortune, beyond bravery ]

Angelina started off the night with the long speeches with her speech entitled ‘Unravelling the tapestry of Fortune beyond bravery’. Angelina explored many interesting concepts linked to Fortune such as gambling and how sometimes it’s just a matter of luck in life as she shared her unorthodox, but interesting perspectives on what Fortune means by tearing apart the title ‘Fortune favours the brave’ into its dictionary definitions word by word. Her speech included consistent use of articulate vocabulary which showed off her fluency of speech and her communicative prowess which was a common theme amongst all of the speakers. 

 

[Brian’s Speech]

Following Angelina, Brian delivered his speech ‘The aspiration of fortune’. Brian kicked off his speech with a brave act: walking off the lectern. He then returned to the lectern and explained how this brave gesture could even be interpreted as a meaningless act of stupidity, demonstrating the fine line between bravery and plain stupidity. Citing historical events from post-World War I Europe and the American Civil Rights Movement, Brian asserted that while bravery was necessary, it alone does not guarantee fortune — it serves as a mere “stepping stone to success”. Brian’s well-structured speech featured compelling arguments that were both persuasive and impactful, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

 

[Jonatas’ Speech]

Jonatas wrapped up the evening with his speech ‘To Look Up’ where he offered a unique twist to the prompt. Rather than focusing on the individual bravery of people, Jonatas proposed that we should also consider the collective bravery of civilisation. More specifically, the bravery as a human species to “brave the cold frontier of space”. To contend his support for space exploration, he drew a comparison between space exploration and Christopher Columbus’ historical voyages to the Americas: although the Spaniards of the late 15th century probably did not think that his voyages across the Atlantic were a good idea, his voyages ultimately marked the beginning of globalisation. He described Earth as a “ticking time bomb” due to global warming and other global crises and argued that it was time to “be brave as a species” and explore beyond our planet. Jonatas delivered his speech with great authority and his captivating speech left the audience inspired.

 

After everyone had spoken, the judges retired and had to make a tough decision on what had been a tremendous night with each speaker deserving of winning. After a hard debate, the judges decided that Sissi and Jonatas won the audience the most and they were announced the winners for their respective speeches. 

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