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    Ariana Ahmad is a Grand Finalist

    6 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 Ariana Ahmad!

    Ariana’s speech ‘What is normal?’ earned them and their school, Tolworth Girls School and Sixth Form, a place in the Kingston Regional Final. Ariana shines a light on ‘ableism,’ and the potential prejudices non-disabled people exercise towards those who are different. 

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

    “1) My mum; I rely on my mum a lot, as she often helps me out and I would enjoy myself much more if she was there.  

    2) A telescope; if I’m stuck on an island, I might as well have fun; I would stargaze at night. 

    3) A torch; when the island becomes dark, I would use a torch to navigate around and explore my surroundings.” 

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

    “I chose this topic because it is something that I am truly passionate about; as it is very personal to me. I also feel as though many aren’t actually fully educated about disability discrimination, and the inequalities involved with this, so I wish to educate others about this.” 

    How would you like people to think / act differently from hearing your story? 

    “I would like people to learn more about the injustices that people with disabilities face, and so alter their behaviour to impact those with disabilities positively. I want people to achieve this by reflecting on their treatment of those with disabilities, and then apply this knowledge in real-life situations. I want to encourage others to actively make a change.” 

    Watch Ariana’s winning speech.

    Did you know you can join us at the Grand Final? Book your tickets now.