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“Speak Out” Challenge – My experience as a Judge
By Chris Bullough
Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! has been designed and delivered by Speakers Trust and is funded and supported by the Jack Petchey Foundation. This programme sees Year 10 students from across the country trained in public speaking so that they can speak and be heard. The students are trained in how to give speeches with clear structure, content and delivery, as they produce a 3 minute speech about a topic they are passionate about. After performing their speeches to a school assembly, pupils are chosen to represent their school in Regional Finals, with the winners eventually going on to the Grand Final in the Cambridge Theatre on the West End.
My role as part of the judging panel was to grade the students on their delivery, content and structure and help choose the eventual winners to go onto the next round. Choosing between the students was immensely difficult as all the speeches were given with such passion and flair. However, the eventual winner was a student who chose to speak about being true to yourself – see here for a link to his speech.
The experience was truly eye opening, showing the potential of the youth of today and demonstrated the importance of gaining such skills at a young age. The speeches covered an array of challenging topics including knife crime, mental health, racism and food waste. I was shocked at the confidence and ability of these students and it reaffirmed to me the importance of reaching out and helping the youth of today to develop. The ability of the students to capture the audience’s attention and deliver structured emotional arguments was incredible. This is an experience I won’t forget in a hurry.
As a STEM ambassador I regularly try and encourage students to consider and pursue careers in STEM subjects. I believe that the work done by STEM charities and Speakers Trust is closely linked and can be brought together to help young people grow in confidence and open new doors. This is something I will be personally working towards in the future as I look to continue to build Jacobs’ relationship with Speakers Trust and STEM charities.