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Meet Grand Finalist Elaine Okyere-Mireku

8 Nov 2021

In 2020 Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! Grand Final took to the airwaves – for the first time ever we broadcast around the world from a London film studio via YouTube. All but a handful of last year’s finalists shared their messages at digital events rather than live on stage. But things have changed and we are thrilled that this year the Grand Final will return to its home in the heart of London’s West End, the Cambridge Theatre on Monday 29th November. The count down is on!

More than 20,000 year 10 students from state schools in London and Essex took part in the “Speak Out” Challenge! this academic year, just fifteen students have become 2021 Grand Finalists.

All of this year’s finalists are Digital Champions whose pre-recorded speeches were broadcast as Zoom webinars to an audience of friends, families, teachers, the finalists themselves and of course, a panel of esteemed judges.

In no particular order, meet the second of our Grand Finalists Elaine Okyere-Mireku!

Her speech ‘Stress about ‘The Future”, earned her and her school, St Bernard’s High School & Arts College, Southend, first place in her Digital Final in February. Elaine speaks with clarity and confidence as she defines and explores a state familiar to many of us.

We asked Elaine, what three top tips on life would you give a Year Seven student? 

  1. Be yourself from the start! Don’t try to change to fit in a crowd.
  2. Keep well informed about everything going on in and around.
  3. Cherish these years because from here onwards is perpetual backpain from carrying an A3 graphics book and having multiple textbooks and workbooks in your bag.

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

When I make this speech, it is almost as if I’m addressing myself. Most people in this world are stressed; knowing you aren’t the only one is not only reassuring but encourages you to strive to do whatever you want to do regardless of any obstacles.

How could this “Speak Out” Challenge! experience help you further any passions you have?

It helps me to confidently speak in public. I’m a talkative person who is often shy at first encounter. I want to be able to be my talkative self regardless of if I’m meeting you for the first time or if I have known you for ages.

And, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be and why? 

Ghanaian food called waakye (pronounced: wah-che). It is authentic to my country and is one of my favourite meals from Ghana!



Watch Elaine’s speech.