15 year old Artemis Irvine wowed a packed audience at the Piccadilly Theatre on 14th July and was crowned Grand Champion of this year’s Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge!
Artemis was one of just 15 finalists from an initial intake of 18,000 year 10 students who have been learning public speaking skills through a series of workshops in what is the biggest youth public speaking event in the world.
Artemis spoke about ‘Menstruation, Misogyny and Caitlin Moran’ and at times had the audience laughing so much she had to wait for the noise to die down before she could continue.
Jack Petchey's Speak Out Challenge, created in partnership with The Speakers Trust, is designed to encourage young people to develop public speaking skills and build their overall confidence. Now in its ninth year, the programme has trained over 100,000 young people.The 15 finalists were judged on delivery (body language, tone, pace etc.) structure (clear beginning, middle, end and a thread that carries you through), and content (interesting, engaging, clear).
Brenda Emmanus was among the Grand Final judges and said; “I thought it was one of the most awe inspiring evenings I’ve ever been to, and I think it gives us a real belief and confidence in the next generation. I think what we saw is a testament to how brilliant young people can be, how much conviction and dedication and talent they have and I think we undersell them all the time in the media. I think it's an absolutely brilliant organisation, a brilliant incentive, and I pray that it goes on for a long time to come.”
Other judges on the night included Head of Entertainment at Channel 4 Justin Gorman, retired English judge Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE, DJ and Presenter AJ King and last year's Speak Out Final winner Nosawaru Ihama.
On hearing that she had won Artemis said; “The standard was so high tonight I really didn’t expect to win. Every one of the other speeches was good enough to win. Now that I have won? Well, I feel relieved, and happy with how it went. That so many people enjoyed it is just amazing. That’s the best part.”
Artemis will receive £2,000 to invest in her education, and £3,000 for her school.
“I’ll put my share of the money towards my University fees, and the school’s money will be for the English Department to help them buy new books.” explained Artemis.
2nd place went to Mohamed Jama from Lambeth, while Monalisa Saha of Newham came third. Rounding up the top four was Declan King of Teddington School, Richmond.
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