Fearless teenagers take to stage for Haringey public speaking final
PUBLISHED: 15:21 01 February 2017
A crop of fearless teenagers took to the stage last night to showcase the public speaking talent on offer in Haringey.
The final of Jack Petchey’s ‘Speak Out’ Challenge saw 17 students from schools across the borough giving short speeches to a packed out audience at Northumberland Park Community School.
Finalists, who had been whittled down from 563 students from 11 schools in the borough, also had the added pressure of speaking in front of a panel of judges from the community.
Speakers took no prisoners with their subject matter, with topics taken on including sexuality, mental illness, ‘bible bashing’, stereotypes and feminism – Donald Trump was also a figure of ire for many on stage.
Winning on the night after a dazzling speech was St Thomas More School’s Lin Ly, whose speech ‘flopped’ saw her questioning the notions of success and failure.
The 15-year-old crowd-pleaser won a £100 gift certificate and is in with a chance to go through to the grand final of the competition at the Cambridge Theatre in July.
“This is an amazing experience I will never forget,” she said. “It is one of the best experience I have ever had.
“I would love to do more work with Mr Petchey’s Foundation.
“One more thing to say ‘do not tailor failure’ – thank you.”
Finishing runner-up on the evening, which was delivered by the Speakers Trust and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation, was Gladesmore Community School’s Maria Kamara, whose speech was called ‘to wed or not to wed’.
In third place was fellow Gladesmore student Elsie Ama Ampomah, who spoke about the frustration of being ‘one mark away from success’ in school examinations.
Councillor Ali Gul Ozbek, Mayor of Haringey, presented the awards and said: “My thanks and appreciation to the participants, schools and the Jack Petchey Foundation, for encouraging these young people and appreciating their success.
“It is an excellent achievement for the youngsters. Giving them self-confidence and letting them know they can do it. Thanks to all for helping the future generation.”
Judges on the night included the Mayor of Haringey’s consort and lawyer Zubeyde Simsek, Metropolitan Police det sptd Des Fahy, London Fire Brigade station manager Pam Oparaocha and Benjamin Tansey of Elliot Advisors.
Also on scoring duties were Jack Petchey Foundation head of project Reen Polonsky, Speakers Trust trustee Cindy Rampersand, 2016’s third placed finalist Lanya Matthews and Ham and High education editor James Scott.
Judging by my own experience of marking the performances of students on the evening, public speaking is in rude health in Haringey.
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