Every year, students from Carshalton High School for Girls take part in Jack Petchey’s ‘“Speak Out” Challenge!’ which is run by the Speakers Trust and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation. It helps young people improve their public speaking skills and encourages them to speak up about issues that they are passionate about.

This year, Amy Hart was selected out of ninety students to perform her speech in front of year 9 students and teachers in the assembly round. From there she was chosen to compete in the Borough Final where she placed second out of 19 students.

Amy’s speech was about pigeons, a topic she chose because she wanted her speech to be ‘different and memorable for the audience and judges.’ She said she ‘couldn’t believe it’ when she came second. ‘The support from my friends, family and teachers made me so happy and I couldn’t wait to receive my prize,’ she continued.

Amy enjoyed the experience and although she found it ‘nerve wracking’ to speak in front of so many people, she said ‘once [she] was up there, I was in my element.’

Next year, more students will be taking part in the challenge. Public speaking comes naturally to some, but for others it’s far more daunting. Amy encourages anyone with the opportunity to take part as it’s a ‘wonderful experience that gets you off your phone and into the real world.’ She says it was ‘amazing being able to talk about something you’re passionate about, so give it a go and it can change everything!’