Last year’s Speak Out Champion gives advice to 15 Talented Semi-Finalists

By : Alessandra D'Addetta | June 9, 2022

After some very difficult decisions, we are thrilled to announce that 15 talented young people from across London and Essex have made it through the semi-final! They are now ready to present their powerful speeches at the Jack Petchey’s “speak Out” Challenge Grand Final, which will be held at the Cambridge Theatre on July 18th!

After receiving an all-day public speaking workshop, every school puts forward one to two speakers to represent their school at the regional final. The Speak Out Challenge programme is fully funded and supported by the Jack Petchey Foundation and has benefitted more than 25,000 students this year alone!


The 14 and 15-year-old students will present their 3-minute speeches in front of a packed audience of up to 1000 people. Whilst this may sound overwhelming, we asked our expert Mayumi Staunton, for some advice. Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! Champion 2021 Mayumi, impressed her audience at last year’s grand final with her speech “Sorry, Not Sorry”.

However, due to the pandemic, Mayumi faced an additional challenge when preparing for the Grand Final: “I participated in the speak out challenge last year, and I was not fortunate enough to do my regional live- instead my audience was my mum and dad. However, I made it to the grand final which was live, and it was an incredible experience…”

Due to lifted Covid-19 restrictions, we were able to return to in-person teaching and host the majority of our Regional Finals in person this academic year. However, we also used this experience to build a digital online Speak Out Academy for schools to use.

The main lesson Mayumi took away from her Speak Out Challenge journey was:”…my voice as a young person is important. We’re often told that “you have a voice” and “be independent” and “stick up for what you believe in!” but there aren’t many accessible routes to do this. School isn’t really the place and not all of us have massive platforms for people to listen to us. That’s why the “Speak Out” Challenge, is so important- you have a chance to talk about something you care about to people who want to listen.”

Her final piece of advice was: “what the speak out challenge gives you is that push, to take that first step. And that first step gets easier to take each time you take it. Because it’s like you can see your own footprints, you know you’ve been here before.”