“The Keyword? – Integrity.” by Leonor Bento – Discurso apresentado na Competição Nacional no British Council

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Foto de Rosa Walpole, Leonor no Salão Nobre do British Council, Lisbon

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen

 

The Second World War, the end of colonialism, our own Revolution of 1974, the Arab Spring – what have all these world events have in common? – That’s right. You’ve guessed it – people wanted to live in a democracy, they wanted to live better, to see their human rights respected, they wanted to live in peace, they wanted future generations to have a future, a good future. So how can we explain the turmoil our world is in today?

Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others.  Is it possible, then, to improve this form of government in order to create a fairer society?

In my speech today I’d like to show you that democracy is like a code and the keyword to crack this code is integrity. – Integrity is like a master key that opens all doors and grants access to the reality of true values, which will guide the young adults of today in planning a successful future.

For me, integrity represents quality or wholesomeness and is therefore a synonym for honesty, righteousness, impartiality. Integrity is a fundamental value, but, unfortunately, it is often ignore nowadays. I can actually say that the abyss between what many people say and what they do is something I consider worthy of study, be it in economy, politics, education or science, as the consequences of this abyss are dire for all humanity as we have been witnessing recently.

Integrity is challenging and difficult to practice in a world full of misunderstandings and conflicting values. In order to help you understand my point of view and successfully share what I believe in, I leave you with a few questions for reflection:

* Are our actions in agreement with what we say?

* Are we the type that says “do what I say, but don’t do what I do” ?

* Can we listen more than we talk and respect other people’s point of view?

Well, to be a person with integrity, we cannot fluctuate according to the moment or the situation in which we find ourselves, just to satisfy our own interests. In doing so we wouldn’t be respecting the law, rules or regulations that apply to our lives and to our society, and very likely we would be harming those around us. Such actions and behavior would – or should not leave us at peace with our conscience. Living in democracy is living on equal terms with our fellow citizens.

As a young citizen who wants to contribute to the transformation of this world that calls itself “modern”, I feel the need to leave behind the hype imposed by this consumerist, seductive and highly competitive society of ours, and I refuse to become an untrustworthy person, who only thinks of others as competitors. I definitely will not erect barriers all around me, which would generate a real island, and make me think I don’t need anyone to achieve my goals. – I want to share my goals with all the other citizens. To that end, I once again advise the correct utilization of the keyword – integrity.

This keyword creates ties, builds bridges, leads to excellence, requires sharing life experiences and challenges and these are what will bring about universal peace, love, respect, freedom, humility, equality. These are simple words but very important values that don’t interfere with religion, with origin, with color or level of education. These values make me realize that integrity depends on the obvious and provides us with happiness.

After reading a scientific article from Harvard University, I concluded that happy people are 85% more productive than unhappy people. This makes me think about my own and other people’s attitudes, opinions, decisions and values. I want to opt for joy and not surrender to sadness and concern, so I will never forget the keyword: INTEGRITY.

Integrity is the keyword to unravel the intricacies of democracy and make it the best form of government for all people, in all nations, in our entire world. Integrity is my hero.

Let’s worship a hero – let our hero be integrity.

 

Thank you.

Sílvia Ramadas, Departamento de Línguas, Agrupamento de Inglês

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“The various shades of integrity” by Inês Pereirinha – Discurso apresentado na Competição Nacional no British Council, Lisboa

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Foto de Rosa Walpole, Inês Pereirinha no Salão Nobre do British Council

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen

(smiling)

Grandparents are wonderful, aren’t they? They tell us the most wonderful stories and we learn so much from them. My grandfather once told me that the first English word he had learnt, when he was about 6, was the word STOP. Of the thousands and thousands of words in the English vocabulary – (as if asking him personally) why that particular word, Grandpa? (short pause)

 He explained –(short pause) many years ago the international authorities thought it was a good idea that the stop road sign was made universal, irrespective of the country or the language people spoke. It was a question of safety first. So, on the roads of our Portuguese speaking country there appeared this road sign in English indicating stop – and all drivers, despite many of them not speaking a word of English, were left in no doubt as to what this sign meant – (short pause) STOP or accept the consequences. That was the rule –(short pause) ( with emphasis; pronouncing every word clearly and slowly) the unequivocal rule. (short pause)

In my speech today – I’d like to show you that, quite unlike our road sign and its unambiguous meaning, integrity has many meanings, it can have many interpretations, and that’s why it does need rules. Even if we all stand by our values and by what we believe in, we can’t ignore the fact that values differ from person to person, from culture to culture.

Let me come to my first argument – everywhere we go, there are rules, if we are in a classroom we have to be quiet and if we´re not, we get expelled from it. Even in this competition, we have rules – this is a five-minute speech, not a 2 or 3-minute speech, otherwise we’ll lose points, nor is it a 6 or 7-minute speech, otherwise (looking towards David Evans, smiling) this gentleman sitting at this desk will tell you – in no uncertain terms – to finish your speech, – whether you have come to the end of your argument or not. So this is how society rules, – with rules. (short pause) Why would integrity be any different?

Secondly, if we say that integrity has no need of rules then we are saying to all people that what they believe in is true and they should keep fighting for what they believe in and by doing that you´re pretty much telling a terrorist to keep killing innocent people because that´s what they stand for. We just can´t stand for what we want, we have to stand for what is right, (short pause; stressing the word universally) what is universally right. We are a global village, are we not? So we should share global values.

If a classroom has rules, it becomes a quiet place where learning can take place, where everyone respects everyone else, and if it doesn´t then it will be a chaotic mess and we, world citizens, don´t want our world to be a chaotic mess, a place where human dignity is ignored, where so much suffering is inflicted by some human beings on other human beings.

That´s why rules are needed. By applying rules to integrity, our freedom of speech may be reduced, – yes – but if that´s what it takes to keep everyone safe then it’s a price worth paying.

Thirdly there´s also the case of physical integrity. If we say that integrity has no need of rules, we are saying that it is okay for anyone to insult someone or even put other people’s lives at risk, just because they are (listing different things, so stressing each one clearly) poor, or fat, or old, or low achievers, or need a wheelchair to move about, or are destitute refugees fleeing from war, destruction, death. (short pause)

To quote Thomas Jefferson,- nobody can acquire honour and integrity by doing what is wrong. So we need rules to enable everybody,- no matter what language they speak,- what religion they profess,- no matter where they come from or where they are going to – we need rules to make sure everybody is able to tell right from wrong and to choose what is right.

Rules and the responsibilities they entail are the ties that bind us. The safety of every world citizen is of paramount importance. As Edward Kennedy once said, integrity is the lifeblood of democracy – so let universally, democratically defined rules be the underpinning principle of our world democracy.

Ladies and gentlemen,- I’ve shown you that integrity has many meanings. I’ve also shown you how important it is that we have rules – (slowly, stressing every word clearly) universally shared rules – to define and to set the boundaries of what integrity means – what is allowed and not allowed, – what is honourable and not acceptable, – what is righteous and downright immoral.

If we want to preserve our most precious jewel – (with emphasis; speaking clearly) our human dignity – rules cannot be ruled out.

(short pause)

Thank you.

Sílvia Ramadas, Departamento de Línguas, Agrupamento de Inglês

 

“Will corruption be our downfall?” by Ana Antunes – Discurso apresentado na Competição Nacional no British Council

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Foto de Rosa Walpole, Ana Antunes no Salão Nobre do British Council, Lisboa

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

 

Abraham Lincoln once said that Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. I do agree with Lincoln on this. You only need to look at what is happening in our world today to realize that the most corrupting thing in the world is power.

Nowadays, we live in a world where almost everywhere we can see people complaining about how corrupt their political systems are. These situations happen mostly because the voters trust the integrity and honesty of the people they choose to be their governors.

But how can we trust someone’s integrity if there are so many interpretations of the word integrity?

For example, being a person of integrity means, among other things, always thinking about everyone and trying one’s best to make decisions so as not to harm anyone who doesn’t have anything to do with those decisions. But for many politicians all over the world, being a person of integrity can be mean trying their best to have always more and more power and money, even if they have to short-change the taxpayers. Greed is the means to an end. People who pursue a greedy life try to inflate their egos and perceive the value of their lives by measuring it against financial gain.

 Unlike many years ago when this only seemed to happen in the developing countries, today it seems to happen in most countries, whether they are democracies or not. –Amazing, don’t you think? Corruption is not only stealing money from taxpayers, corruption is also hiding important information from us, the taxpayers, such as how our taxes are used.

Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit, and integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral values and principles.

So, for corruption not to be the reason of our downfall, we need to make sure that honesty and moral principles, also known as integrity, are prevalent at all times and in all dealings between people, regardless of the position they hold. Integrity goes hand in hand with honesty, and for there to be honesty, people have to be accountable for their actions.

 Our present difficulties are mostly of our own creation, so we need to regulate integrity in order to safeguard the rights of every single citizen and put an end to corruption which generates inequality and deprivation.

It’s my belief that integrity has to be defined by rules to prevent these situations in our government and society in general, otherwise we will eventually succumb to a financial crisis and maybe to our own downfall.

The point I want to make is that freedom and democracy are perfectly reconcilable with obedience to the rules, as long as these rules are democratically set up and they safeguard that which we honestly and conscientiously as a nation believe to be for the permanent interests of our country and all its citizens.

In many cases power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power and use their privileged positions to make personal gains. Corruption is perhaps the greatest threat to our liberal societies and it is every citizen’s duty to unite against corruption. If we do, we will have more chances to put a stop to it and create a better, fairer society.

 We cannot let corruption be our downfall as a nation.

So, I appeal to you – let’s not waste any more time arguing about what a good, honest citizen should be. Be one. Our nation is counting on you.

Thank you.

Sílvia Ramadas, Departamento de Línguas, Agrupamento de Inglês

 

 

 

Competição Nacional do Discurso em Inglês – British Council, Lisboa

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Decorreu no dia 10 do corrente mês mais uma edição da competição de Public Speaking organizada pela English Speaking Union Portugal, em parceria com o British Council, cujo o vencedor vai representar Portugal na competição internacional a decorrer em Londres, no próximo mês de maio.

O Agrupamento de Escolas de Mação fez-se representar, pela primeira vez, neste evento, pelas alunas Ana Antunes, da turma 12º A e Inês Pereirinha e Leonor Bento, da turma 11º A, acompanhadas pelas professoras Mónica Santos e Sílvia Ramadas. Entre os participantes encontram-se o Liceu Pedro Nunes, a Escola Secundária Jácome Ratton, o Colégio Valsassina, a Oeiras International School e o Colégio St. Julian’s.

Num total de 25 participantes, as nossas alunas deslumbraram a audiência com os seus discursos repletos de audácia e fervor. A aluna Inês Pereirinha passou à fase de finalistas, tendo ficado empatada no 3º lugar com outras duas alunas. Parabéns pela excelência e pelo excelente discurso…

Este ano os oradores tiveram de proferir discursos subordinados ao tema «Integrity has no need of rules!»

A SDAL, o American Club de Santarém, a ESU, o British Council e um advogado de renome da nossa praça estiveram presentes nos painéis de jurados nas rondas eliminatórias e saem deste evento com a certeza que o debate, o discurso e a palavra ficam reforçados com iniciativas desta relevância.

Debate competitivo e discurso…, a força das palavras!

Sílvia Ramadas, Departamento de Línguas, Agrupamento de Inglês

Abertura do Ano Letivo

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Clicar na foto para ver as restantes fotografias da Cerimónia oficial de Abertura de Ano Letivo.

As férias já ficaram para trás e, agora, é chegada a altura de abraçarmos o novo ano letivo.

Como é tradição no nosso Agrupamento, e para além das atividades normais de preparação do novo ano letivo, há dois momentos altos que marcam este período e que visam abrir as portas do Agrupamento à comunidade: a Cerimónia oficial de Abertura de Ano Letivo e, quando em ano de entrada de novos professores, a Visita ao Concelho de Mação.

A primeira destas atividades decorreu no passado dia 16 de setembro, no Auditório Evelino Pereira, e a Visita ao Concelho, no dia 17, com paragem em Cardigos para almoço, no Solar do Moinho, oferecido pela edilidade, tendo ainda sido oferecidos aos senhores professores vários folhetos com informação sobre o concelho e uma garrafinha do famoso Azeite de Mação.

Como é também tradição, estes dois acontecimentos contaram com a presença da Câmara Municipal de Mação, representada ao mais alto nível pelo seu Presidente, Dr. Vasco Estrela, e pelo Vereador da Educação, Dr. Vasco Marques. O Vereador Eng.º António Louro juntou-se à representação do município na Visita ao Concelho.

Clicar na foto para ver as restantes fotografias da Visita ao Concelho.
Clicar na foto para ver as restantes fotografias da Visita ao Concelho.

A Associação de Pais e Encarregados de Educação do Agrupamento marcou presença através da sua Presidente, Dr.a Vera António, no Auditório Evelino Pereira, em representação de todos os pais e encarregados de educação dos alunos do nosso Agrupamento.

Da nossa parte, estamos certos que todos os professores do nosso Agrupamento se juntam a nós no desejo de que este ano letivo seja repleto de sucesso educativo para todos os nossos alunos.

Texto e fotos,

professor João Pinheiro

XIV Seminário Escxel

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O nosso Agrupamento integra o projeto ESCXEL – Rede de Escolas de Excelência – dinamizado pelo CESNOVA (Centro de Estudos de Sociologia da Universidade Nova).

Esta rede tem como objetivo promover processos escolares sustentados de maior qualidade e desempenhos educativos mais avançados.
Neste sentido, no âmbito das atividades anuais do Escxel, vai realizar-se no nosso Agrupamento, no próximo dia 21 de março (sexta feira), o XIV Seminário Escxel, subordinado ao tema “Projetos Educativos face aos desafios colocados pelos novos agrupamentos“.
O Diretor do Agrupamento de Escolas Verde Horizonte,
professor José António Almeida

Semana da Leitura

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A Semana da Leitura, dinamizada pela Biblioteca escolar com o apoio do Diretor e da sua direção, do Agrupamento de Língua Portuguesa, docentes da escola sede e docentes do 1ºciclo e Jardim de Infância do agrupamento de escolas Verde Horizonte de Mação já se tornou um momento habitual no calendário escolar. Ao longo da semana de 3 a 7 de fevereiro, todas as escolas dos diferentes níveis de ensino do Agrupamento unirão esforços para a organização e dinamização de atividades, no sentido de fazer com que a leitura fosse e seja uma prática presente no quotidiano de cada um.

Esta iniciativa é destinada a celebrar e incentivar o prazer de ler.

Podes consultar o programa da Semana da Leitura aqui.

A equipa da biblioteca escolar,

António Bento