“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

 

Anúncios

“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

 

 

 

Semana da Leitura

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A biblioteca escolar contou na Semana da Leitura com o apoio, a disponibilidade, a colaboração do diretor, José Almeida 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, para promover atividades destinadas a todos os ciclos de ensino numa perspetiva transversal e interdisciplinar. As sessões decorreram num ambiente descontraído, cordial, de motivação de curiosidade dos alunos com vários tipos de perguntas aos vários intervenientes. No fim das sessões, os escritores deram uma sessão de autógrafos.

A Equipa da Biblioteca Escolar

António Bento

Semana da Leitura

S. Leitura

Já falta pouco para a nossa Semana da Leitura, que este ano irá decorrer na primeira semana de fevereiro. Como sempre, organizada pela Biblioteca Escolar, com o apoio do Diretor e da sua direção, do Agrupamento de Língua Portuguesa, dos docentes da escola sede e dos docentes do 1ºciclo e Jardim de Infância do agrupamento de Escolas Verde Horizonte de Mação.

De seguida apresenta-se o programa:

Programa atualizado

Alda Serras

Milu Loureiro

A equipa da biblioteca escolar,

António Bento

Exposição/venda de livros

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Está a patente, na Biblioteca Escolar, uma exposição/ venda de livros da escritora Isabel Ricardo e do escritor Nuno Valente, que estarão presentes na Semana da Leitura, que irá decorrer na primeira semana de fevereiro.

Flyer Isabel Ricardo

Livros da Isabel Ricardo

A vinda destes escritores ao nosso Agrupamento só é possível com o apoio do Diretor e da sua direção.

  A equipa da biblioteca escolar,

   António Bento

Should you take a Gap Year?

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In my opinion, taking a gap year can make people forget about what they really want to do, so going straight to the university is the best choice to take, however, this is not the only problem you can face, you can also get stuck in unemployment by starting the university later than the others.

So, you’d better go to the university and get a real job, not a part-time job; who needs that? Right?

So, yeah, I hope you follow my advice and get in the university.

 Diogo Marques 11 º A

Should you take a Gap Year?

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In my opinion, I think it is very important to all the people to take a break for themselves and take a time off their jobs or schools.

Taking a gap year is very nice because you can run all over the world and save some money working in part-time jobs and getting more culture, visiting some countries and learning about them. I think it is very good also because you can have friends from several countries and multiple cultures and that can help you getting more motivated for life!

Ana Antunes   11º A

Should you take a Gap Year?

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In my opinion, a Gap Year is a good option because it can bring unforgettable experiences. A Gap Year can be an asset to the future and a good way to learn more about life. It´s also important to enhance your CV because employers and universities appreciate enterprise, maturity and commitment both in and outside formal education. An experience like this gives you also new ways to seeing the world and overcome difficulties. It´s also a good way to know new cultures and languages. Actually, a Gap Year is an experience that I would like to live as it would give me a lot of experience and facilitate my future!

Ana Rita Lopes 11º A