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    Meet Grand Finalist, Abbie Gezi

    5 Jul 2022

    After a challenging pandemic with far reaching consequences for schools, students and oracy skills, the Jack Petchey Foundation recognised and responded to the needs of young people. They made it possible for more than 30,000 students to be part of the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! this academic year alone, making this the highest number of students ever trained on the programme in such a short amount of this.

    The Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! provides year 10 students in state schools across London and Essex with public speaking and communication training to increase their confidence, sense of agency and drive to make a difference in society.

    During the academic year, over 400 schools have received a free one-day public speaking workshop for their students. The student’s confidence in speaking to an audience, without notes, is measured at the beginning and at the end of the day. During 2021-22, 77% of students have increased their confidence to stand up and talk to a group of people. At the end of the day, every school nominates one student to go on to the Regional Final, where they compete again other school finalists and their speeches are judged based on content delivery and structure by a panel of esteemed judges. After going on to win the semi-finals, our 15 most inspirational, articulate, and impressive speakers are now ready to present their speech to you!

    We will celebrate the achievements of these awe-inspiring young people in the heart of London’s West End at Cambridge Theatre on Monday 18th July and crown the 2022 “Speak Out” Champion!

    In no particular order, meet Grand Finalist Abbie Gezi!

    Abbie’s speech ‘My Unwanted Resident’ earned them and their school, Parliament Hill School, a place in the Camden Regional Final. Abbie uses a personal story to highlight the emotions and challenges we often avoid talking about when we lose someone we love. 

    We asked Abbie, what three items or people would you choose to take to a desert island and  why? 

    Tony Stark because he’s a billionaire and could get a private jet to fly us out of there. J Cole because hes one of the greatest rappers of our generation and I feel like he would give me wise and inspirational advice. Water because it’s essential to survive.”

    What is your favourite saying or quote and why? 

    “With great power comes great responsibility- Said by Uncle Ben from Spider-Man. This is my favourite quote because it defines Spider-Man and everything that he stands for. He uses his power to create change and do good.”

    If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be and why? 

    Sadza, because it reminds me of my motherland, Zimbabwe, and all the memories I’ve made there with my family.” 

    You could have made a speech anything in the world. Why did you speak about this one subject? 

    I wanted to reach out and help at least one person who felt confused and misunderstood within their grief; and let them know that they’re not alone. I wanted someone to hear my speech and finally feel heard and understood. There isn’t a right or wrong way to navigate through grief. It’s a tough and personal journey and it is different for everyone. Every single emotion you feel is valid, because it your own journey.”

    Why do you think it’s important for young people, like you, to share their stories? 

    It’s easier to not feel so alone when you hear someone around your age sharing similar experiences to yours. You find comfort in knowing that other people your age are going through something similar to your own situation.”

    Watch Abbie’s winning speech 


    You can help amplify young voices on Monday 18th July. Book your free tickets now.