Ark Elvin Academy student wins Brent final of Jack Petchey public speaking challenge

Top three: Queen's Park Community School's Kaliyl Morris, The Mayor of Brent, Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan,

Top three: Queen's Park Community School's Kaliyl Morris, The Mayor of Brent, Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan, winning Ark Elvin Academy student Aisha Abdirahman and Capital City Academy's Tykalyla De-Gale at the annual Brent 'speak out challenge'. Photo by Tony Preece - Credit: Archant

A 14-year-old’s thought-provoking talk on discrimination was the pick of the bunch at a borough-wide public speaking event at Queen’s Park Community School on Friday.

Ark Elvin Academy student Aisha Abdirahman, 14, came out on top in the annual Brent 'speak out chall

Ark Elvin Academy student Aisha Abdirahman, 14, came out on top in the annual Brent 'speak out challenge'. Photo by Tony Preece - Credit: Archant

Ark Elvin Academy’s Aisha Abdirahman – with a speech called ‘apologies’ – scooped the top prize of a £100 gift certificate and the chance to go through to the grand final of the Jack Petchey ‘speak out challenge’ at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden in July.

Second Place went to Tykalyla De-Gale, 15, from Capital City Academy with her speech ‘gone too soon’, closely followed by 15-year-old Kaliyl Morris, 15, from Queen’s Park Community School with his talk on ‘black history month’.

More than 750 Year 10 students in Brent’s state secondary schools received a one-day public speaking and communications training workshop.

During the course, students were given the skills and the confidence to develop and deliver a competition speech on a topic that is important to them.


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The Mayor of Brent, Cllr Bhagwanji Chohan, presented the awards and said: “I am very proud to have such wonderful young people in my borough.

“The speeches were all thought provoking and some were funny – the quality was amazing.”

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The challenge is the world’s largest youth speaking event in the world, with more than 19,000 students in London and Essex taking part. It is funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation and designed and delivered by public speaking charity, Speakers Trust.

The judging panel at the event included: Tara Furlong, consultant, Designing Futures Ltd; Andy Hunter, managing director, Print House; Insp Rob Webb, Partnership and Schools, London MET Police; Cllr James Denselow, Queen’s Park ward councillor; Maneet Relom, community youth programmes co-ordinator, Brent Mind; Najib Rahman, chair of Brent youth parliament, London Borough of Brent; prof Michael Preston-Shoot, independent chair, Brent Safeguarding adults board and Connie Freedman, runner-up of the Jack Petchey ‘speak out challenge’ regional final from last year.

In Brent, the overall increase in student confidence – the results of which were calculated by a survey with students taking part – due to the training was recorded at 61per cent.

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