‘Future bright’ for Camden youngsters after Jack Petchey speak out challenge

Jaidyn Sommers, of Hampstead School, took home the top prize in the Camden 'speak out' challenge. Ph

Jaidyn Sommers, of Hampstead School, took home the top prize in the Camden 'speak out' challenge. Photo by Tony Preece - Credit: Archant

‘The future is bright’ for a crop of Camden youngsters who dazzled judges in a public speaking contest at Regent High School.

One of the stars of the show was Hampstead School student Jaidyn Sommers, who impressed the judges with a winning speech called ‘coffee’ on the benefits of buying fairtrade coffee.

The ‘speak out’ challenge – funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation and delivered by the Speakers Trust – is the world’s largest youth speaking event in the world, with more than 19,000 students in London and Essex taking part.

“When I heard I had won I felt blood rush through my body,” Jaidyn said. “It was an amazing experience.

“I so enjoyed this evening getting to meet the other finalists and making friends.”

The Year 10 student scooped top prize of a £100 gift certificate and the chance to go through to the grand final of the competition to be held at the Cambridge Theatre in July.

Jacques Szemalikowsi, head of Hampstead School said: “It was a wonderful evening showcasing the huge public speaking talent within Camden Schools.

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“I am delighted that Jaidyn won as this reflects the emphasis within our school on developing confident young people able to express themselves fluently. We wish Jaidyn success for his accomplishment.”

More than 350 Year 10 students in Camden’s state secondary schools received a one-day public speaking and communications training workshop.

During the course, students were given the skills and the confidence to develop and deliver a competition speech on a topic that is important to them.

Second place on the night went to La Sainte Union School student Wealth Azubuike with her speech ‘lost, but now I’m found’, while third place went to Parliament Hill School’s Nikita Hawkins with her speech called ‘hero’.

The Mayor of Camden, Cllr Richard Cotton presented the awards and said: “It is an incredibly brave thing to do to stand up in front of an audience and make a speech.

“I love hearing Camden’s young people speak as they are always so positive and self-aware.

“They are the future and I think you’ll agree the future looks pretty positive.

“Lovely to see such a wide variety of speeches delivered with such passion. Yes, the future is bright because the future is you.”