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    Meet Grand Finalist, Boe Mathews

    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 Boe Mathews!

    Boe’s speech ‘The Classics’ earned them and their school, Woodbridge High School, a place in the Redbridge Regional Final. Boe draws our attention to the English Literature curriculum in schools  and asks, why can’t we read some books from this century?

    We asked Boe, how would you like people to think / act differently from hearing your story? 

    First of all, I would like everybody to believe that anything is possible. If I can stand up on stage and deliver a three minute speech off by heart, you too can achieve anything you set your mind to. Secondly after hearing my speech I want people to pick up a book, any book, reading is an escape – it allows to travel to magical places without ever leaving your seat.” 

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

    I spoke about this subject because quite simply I love reading, and believe me I adore Of Mice and Men, Romeo and Juliet and An Inspector Calls but I want to try and diversify what we read in school. I think that this way many more teenagers will be enthusiastic about reading.”

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

    “I think it’s really important because we get to appreciate other peoples views and experiences. Everybody has something to say and we are not always given the opportunity to say it.”

    If you could make one change in the world what would it be? 

    “If I could make one change in the world it would be the older generations view on young people. The perception is we are addicted to technology, have no “real” friends and are unable to socialise. But personally I think that through this Speak Out challenge we are opposing that criticism head on and showing we have valuable skills and views to add to the world.”

    How could this experience help you further any passions you have? 

    Before taking part in this, I never would of dreamed of delivering speeches in front of large groups of people but I have a new found confidence in my self and would love to continue public speaking.”

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

    During this experience, I have met so many wonderful new people with so many wonderful stories to tell. I have listened to so many new and exciting ideas that I would have never have thought of before.”

    Watch Boe’s winning speech 

    Support these young speakers, join us at the Grand Final.