Year 10 Roding Valley High School students, Mia and Charlotte, scooped first and third place respectively in the West Essex Regional Finals of Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge.
The event, hosted by Roding Valley High School on Wednesday 24 April, saw 16 Year 10 students from across the West Essex region come head-to-head with the aim of being crowned Regional Champions. Mia will now represent her school at the national Semi-Final, taking place at the end of May, where 15 out of 37 Regional Champions will be selected to compete at the Grand Final.
The competition is aimed at instilling confidence and public speaking skills in students, by challenging them to deliver a speech on a topic of their choice. The regional victory continues Roding Valley High School’s running success at the annual event, at which it has placed in the top three each year since 2016.
Cllr Richard Bassett, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, presented the winners with awards and certificates and said: “I am happy and honoured to be here. Sitting and listening to these young people speak about how they view life is truly inspiring and eye opening. They have so much to give, if only the world would stop and listen.”
West Essex Regional Champion, Mia, delivered her speech, Twin, about the pros and cons of being a twin, which scooped her first prize. Charlotte’s speech discussed the topic of choice and how to deliver a powerful, confident speech.
Sharon Jenner, Headteacher, Roding Valley High School, said: “I am so proud of Mia and Charlotte. Mia delivered her speech with wit, and Charlotte spoke with such confidence, they are both fantastic role models for our other students.”
The nationwide competition sees over 18,000 Year 10 students, from 550 schools and 37 regions, compete to improve their presentation skills. Those who go on to the Grant National Final are in with the chance of winning £2,000 for themselves and £3,000 for their school from the Jack Petchey Foundation.
Khaver Ehsan, English Teacher and Project Lead at Roding Valley High School, said: “This challenge has been great for the students to take part in and it is clear how much they have grown in confidence since the first rounds held internally at the school. Both students delivered inspiring speeches and they should feel very proud.”
Jenner said: “Competitions like this are so important. Good communication is the life blood of society that has the power to motivate change; it is also vital in building a successful career. We were really proud to host the Regional Finals but, more so, of all the students that put themselves forward for the Challenge and competed, it makes them all achievers.”