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    Maya Redley becomes 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 Maya Redley!

    Maya’s speech ‘Rapunzel, Race and Representation’ earned them and their school, Leytonstone School, a place in the Waltham Forest Regional Final. Maya tells us all about her favourite film from childhood – why it no longer is.

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

    A towel which may seem boring but i can sleep on it, use it as a pillow, i can carry stuff in it and i can use it obviously to dry off if i go for a swim. Steve Backshall because i’m sure he would know what to do so i’d just let him do all the hard work. And lastly my dad’s ipod classic because it’s lasted years so it should be able to withstand the desert island and i can listen to music from it for as long as possible.” 

    What is your favourite saying or quote and why? 

    “‘An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind’ is my favourite quote because I think sometimes, we let our anger get the best of us when really, revenge might give you quick satisfaction but in the long run you have not understood or tackled the root of the problem. I think back to this quote if my emotions are high and I ever feel like getting that quick satisfaction so I think it’s helped me handle situations much better than I would’ve.”

    What three top tips on life would you give a Year Seven student? Food – If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be and why? 

    “Don’t stress about what other people think of you because they’re all going to have an opinion of you anyway so you might as well do what you want. Don’t dwell on the past or future because the past can’t be changed and your future is dependant on what you’re doing right now so live in the moment. Explore the world around you because you’ll learn so much.”

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

    I want people to think over what I’ve said and try and understand because acknowledging our differences and opening our eyes to our privilege will bring about change and hopefully move us towards a more accepting society even if it happens slowly. Change isn’t something that will happen overnight but it is something that we can all play a part in.”

    Watch Maya’s winning speech 

    Support these young speakers, join us at the Grand Final