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    Meet Grand Finalist, Izzy Hilton

    7 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 Izzy Hilton!

    Izzy’s speech ‘A Pain in the Neck’ earned them and their school, Westcliff High School for Girls, a place in the Southend & Rochford Regional Final. Izzy talks about her experience of living with a tic disorder and the self-love journey she has taken.

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

    “”You carry so much love in your heart, take the time to give yourself some.” This quote just sits with me as throughout the “Speak Out” Challenge! and some of the recent years in my life I’ve been on a journey of self-acceptance, a message I touch on in my speech, so this quote just always seems to remind me of that journey and the self-love we should all aspire to promote.” 

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

    “I spoke about having a tic disorder because it was my chance to educate and show a disorder not often represented well. If a few years ago I had the chance to watch someone speak about tics, I think I would have started to accept myself far earlier then I started to. If my speech can make one young person with tics feel seen it would be a massive achievement and even if it makes someone just struggling with self-acceptance without tics feel slightly more hopeful that they can be themselves it would make me so happy, and that my I chose to speak about tics and the acceptance I’ve had to learn with it.”  

    And finally, how would you like people to think / act differently from hearing your story? 

    “After hearing my speech, I want people to have learned, I want them to walk away feeling glad that they came because they learnt about tics or heard someone speak about them in a more positive light then the media does. I would want people to go home and be able to explain to another person what tics are and why it’s so important that we as a society don’t laugh or judge but instead embrace that there are people in our world living with disorders like mine and that that is ok and isn’t something to shy away from. I would just hope that my speech inspires knowledge and kindness at the end of the day.” 

    Watch Izzy’s winning speech.

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