18 Newham schools prove they can ‘Speak Out’ for youth

Schools from across Newham competed against each other for the top spot in a public speaking competition.

An East Ham pupil scooped first prize, as 15-year-old Sara Ahmed won with her speech entitled “What Did We Achieve” fighting off stiff competition from 18 other young speakers from Newham schools.

Delighted Sara from Plashet School, who won an iPod Touch, said: “Amazing! I really enjoyed it. I am also so grateful to Jack Petchey for supporting us and to Speaker’s Trust for creating this opportunity for us.”

The Newham Regional Finals of the Young Speakers competition were held at St Angela’s Ursuline School in Upton Park on June 30 and now Sara will now compete in the Grand Final of the “Speak Out Challenge” on July 2.

Speaker’s Trust, a national public speaking charity, teamed up with the Jack Petchey Foundation, a Newham based organisation which give grants to benefit young people, to run the event.

Sara’s proud father, Saeed Ahmed, said: “It’s been the most amazing day of my life - I am really a proud parent today.”

Over 450 pupils took part in the annual Young Speakers competition for Year 10 students that challenged students to ‘speak out’ and provided them with a full day training in public speaking and effective communication.

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Taking second place was Robbie Shaw, 15, from Lister Community School, in Plaistow with his speech “Lister Community School”, while third place was awarded to Christine Bukasa, 15, from Little Ilford School in Manor Park for her speech called “Fam-A-Lam”.

The winners were decided by a judging panel comprising Linzi Roberts-Egan, director of children and young people at Newham Council who also presented the prizes; Rob Jones, borough commander of Newham Police; Trudy Kilcullen, from the Jack Petchey Foundation; Guy Insull, founder of Champions Club Community; Marion Faust, from the Newham Education Business Partnership; John Armitage, from West Ham MP Lyn Brown’s office; last year’s Newham winner Olivia Masengi; and Andrew Johnson from the London Academy of Excellence.

Currently in its seventh year, the Speak Out Challenge brings together over 20,000 Year 10 pupils to compete for around �15,000 worth of prizes.