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Posted on 23rd May 2018
A confident student’s first experience of public speaking saw her named as the best in the region.
Amarni-Jai Newman, 15, was crowned the winner of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge north Essex regional final after entering the competition for the first time.
The Year 10 student at Forest Hall School was inspired to take part after a workshop by the Jack Petchey Foundation.
She took to the stage at Ramsey Academy to give a speech on the topic of speaking up for yourself and using your voice when change is needed.
She said: “Although I was ok with speaking in public, it was a new experience for me in front of a large audience. I had practised in front of assembly and my class at school, so I felt confident as I was fully prepared. I had kept forgetting one line previously, but it went perfectly on the day.
“I didn’t go expecting to win, I just wanted to actually achieve completing the challenge.
“The biggest thing I have taken away from the experience is knowing I am able to talk in front of a large group of people. That is a big fear of lots of people’s, so to be able to say I can do it is a big thing.
“Even without winning, I would have been very glad I did it.”
Amarni-Jai now has a month-long wait to hear whether she has been selected out of the 37 regional finals to be one of 17 to go through to the national final.
Co-head of school Hannah Jones said: “The Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge enables young people to have their voices heard. We are delighted our very own Amarni-Jai won with such a positive and inspirational message. Her powerful message is a reminder to us all – we should speak out against injustice.
“We all now have our fingers crossed that Amarni-Jai goes through to the national final!”
Stephen Hehir, executive head, said: “This is such an important competition for the students of Forest Hall as it helps to not only develop students’ oral skills, but also their confidence and character. It teaches our students to push themselves out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves each and every day.
“Amarni’s speech was so uplifting and so positive it resonates with the work we do here at Forest Hall School.”