Bexley student named Speak Out champion

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2018

The top three with Mayor Peter Reader. Picture: Tony Preece

The top three with Mayor Peter Reader. Picture: Tony Preece

Tony Preece

A 15-year-old from a Bexleyheath school was last night named as the borough’s Speak Out Challenge Champion, in the world’s largest youth speaking event.

Aaliyah during her speech. Picture: Tony PreeceAaliyah during her speech. Picture: Tony Preece

Funded by the Jack Petchy Foundation and designed and delivered by the UK’s leading public speaking charity, the Speaker’s Trust, more than 19,000 students in London and Essex took part in the challenge.

Aaliyah Orridge, from St Catherine’s Catholic School for Girls in Watling Street, scooped top prize of a £100 gift certificate and the chance to go through to the grand final of the competition, which will be held at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden, on Monday July 2.

More than 620 Year 10 students in Bexley’s state secondary schools received a one-day public speaking and communications training workshop, where they were given the skills and the confidence to develop and deliver a competition speech on a topic that is important to them.

The students came together at Trinity School, Belvedere, last night (Wednesday, March 22) and competed to be crowned champion,

Bexley winner Aaliyah Orridge. Picture: Tony PreeceBexley winner Aaliyah Orridge. Picture: Tony Preece

Aaliyah impressed the judges with a winning speech entitled Individuality is not a curse, where she talked about the importance of individuals being themselves.

When asked about the training and the competition, she said, “I think the speak out challenge boosts your confidence and opens your potential to do things you didn’t even know you could do yourself.

“It pushes you to strive to be the best and to speak out! I am extremely happy and hopeful for the future.”

A very respectable second place went to Kirsty Moore, 15, from Bexley Grammar School with her speech Body image expectations and third place went to Ben Bleksley, 15, from Hurstmere School with his speech on The value of education.

Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Peter Reader, presented the awards and said, “Fantastic evening at Trinity School listening to the many speakers.

“All in my opinion winners and congratulations have to go to their mentors, the Jack Petchey Foundation and Speakers Trust.”

In the borough of Bexley, the overall increase in student confidence as a result of the training was 63pc.

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