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Meet Grand Finalist Solomon Sankoh

10 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 Grand Finalist Solomon Sankoh!

His speech ‘Never Giving Up’, earned him and his school, Gaynes School, Havering, first place in his Digital Final in May. He tells us about his role model and they have encouraged him to never give up on his dreams.

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

  1. Express yourself
  2. Accept yourself for who you are
  3. Never give up

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

It will encourage young people to discover their purpose and strive towards achieving their goals.

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

I would like people to be courageous in times of difficulty. Also, I would like people to have the mind set that no matter how many times you fall you must try to rise up.

And finally, what three items or people would you choose to take to a desert island and why? 

I would bring a football so I am never bored, a small radio so I can listen to music and lastly, a telescope so I can look up at the stars.

Watch Solomon’s speech now.