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    Ava John wins place in Grand Final

    8 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 Ava John!

    Ava’s speech ‘Dive In!’ earned them and their school, Orleans Park school, a place in the Richmond Regional Final. Ava speaks passionately about the joy of participating in sport. 

    We asked Ava, what is your favourite saying or quote and why? 

    “’It’s a very short life, there’s no reason not to go after what sets your soul on fire’, because I think it is so true that we need to do the things that we love and that give us a sense of purpose.” 

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

    “I spoke about the power of sport because sport is so many things for so many different people. It is something that makes me feel at my happiest and I want everyone to experience that! It really has the power to change the way you view the world and yourself. I think there are so many positives of sport – social, physical and mental.” 

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

    “Young people have a whole different perspective of life and are always positive. They are bursting with original ideas that deserve to be shared with the world. They are just finding their way in life and really need people to listen. After all, young people will grow up to rule the world.” 

    And finally, outside of delivering a speech, how do you think this experience could be helpful now or in the future? 

    “I have seen such a big difference in myself. I participate more in speaking activities in class and even auditioned for the school musical! I was so nervous at the start of the workshops, even messing up the first speech, but as I’ve progressed, I now feel so much more confident. This will definitely help me use my voice in the future to ask questions and talk about topics that are important to me.” 

    Watch Ava’s winning speech.

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