Prizes For Pupils Who "Speak Out" In Wimbledon

Top public speakers are rewarded for "connecting with the audience"

Michael Miller from Harris Academy Merton scooped top prize in the Merton Regional Final of Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge!, held at Ursuline High School in Wimbledon.

Michael impressed the judges in the public speaking competition with his winning speech “Mental Limitations”, fighting off stiff competition from 12 other young speakers from schools in the Merton area.

About the experience, delivered by Speakers Trust and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation, he said: “Success only comes before work in one place, the dictionary. I enjoyed the atmosphere and everyone who came to support me”.

After just one day of public speaking and effective communication training, 445 year 10 students aged 14-15, from eight schools in Merton took part in the “Speak Out” competition.

Michael won a £100 Gift Certificate for coming first and a chance to go through to the Grand Final of the “Speak Out” Challenge! due to take place on July 4 at the Piccadilly Theatre.

Councillor David Chung, Mayor of Merton presented the awards, and said: "One of the key aspects of public speaking is connecting with the audience and they’ve all done that tonight.  Myself and the Mayoress really enjoyed tonight, thank you for inviting us.”

The judging panel at the event included Alice Hill (Learning & Development Advisor, Mayer Brown Int.); Philippa Joy (Broadcast Journalist, Visual Journalism, BBC); Alison Lobo (Freelance Project Consultant, Media Industry); Juliana Matovu (JPSOC Runner Up 2014-15); Phillip Palmer (Chief Inspector, MET Police); Charlie Shakespeare (Theatre Manager, Colour House Theatre) and Julian Spooner (Borough Commander, London Fire Brigade).

Second place went to Lucy Sutton, 14 from Ursuline High School with her speech “Why do people like him anyway?” and third place went to Beeta Davoudi, 15 from the Ursuline High School with her speech titled "I come in peace."

Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! is the biggest public speaking event of its kind in the world. Now in its tenth year, over 18,000 year 10 students are expected to compete for nearly £6,000 worth of prizes in this year’s Grand Final. 

April 21, 2016

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Michael Miller, Lucy Sutton and Beeta Davoudi with Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond and Merton Mayor David Chung