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@JPFoundation Speak Out Challenge Reflection

posted 16 May 2016, 01:53 by tjohnson@bexleyheathacademy.org
 We recently shared with you news of the progress of Katie N, who reached the final of this annual event. This is her reflection on this experience. 

At the beginning of this whole adventure I never thought that a shy and quite person like me would have been chosen by the students in Year 9 to represent my school in the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out ‘challenge. Who would have thought that my speech about failing would have had the potential to allow me to progress further in the competition?

I still remember the first day of this whole experience, sitting around in a semi circle with my peers waiting eagerly to see what the Jack Petchey representative had to offer. The representative introduced himself and we addressed him as Chris. Now Chris firstly talked about himself and who he was as a person, he also told us stories about his personal life which in my opinion was very humorous and memorable to say the least, but he had exaggerated the need for us to include one of our own personal experiences as that would make our speeches come to life and also would make it captivating and enjoyable for the audience who are watching.

Following from that, we did mini actives as a group which involved us to speak to one another about our future aspirations as well as our goals which we would like to achieve in the coming years. However, we were restricted to using word fillers such as: umm or like. If we were to say those words then we were penalised, if holding a pink spiky ball while chanting “I am very sorry Mr. Pink Fluffy Spiky ball” Could have been classed as a punishment. We did numerous activities which improved my understanding of captivating my audience from the very first word. Following on we also talked about things which we are passionate about and were given a booklet of which included help tips, inspiring topics,  how to deliver our speeches through body language and  also through our voices as well. After we picked the topic that we were passionate about we had to perform it in front of our peers. Everyone was very supportive of one another clapping every time a person walks on and off stage. Slowly but surely it was my turn to present my speech in front of the class, my speech that I was presenting was about Asian stereotypes. I was very nervous to say the least but with the support of all my peers around me. I was then chosen to then move forward to the next round of the Jack Petchey challenge along with my other peers; we were both very ecstatic to go through.

The next stage was much more challenging than the first; we had to perform our speech in front of the whole of Year 9 to see which person was going to represent the school in the Jack Petchey speak out challenge. I along with 5 other of my peers, who all made it past the first training stage, all had the choice of either keeping the speech we did in the training stage or make a whole new one. I however made the choice of making a new speech due to the fact that other people who previously were in the Jack Petchey challenge had already done a speech on stereotypes. I however made the choice to be different and find an idea that was never been used before. After countless of restless nights and re doing or rephrasing words I finally finish my new speech. My new speech was about failing and that failing is not a bad thing, that could be looked down for but that failing is a good thing and that it is okay to fail. After days of practising and hours of perfecting it it was finally the big day. Standing at the side of the PE hall watching all the year 9 students come in and taking their seats. I started to become more nervous. Watching each one of my peers taking the stage and talking about the topic that they felt passionate about, I started to feel anxious, and felt the nerves creeping up on me, my hands start to sweat and I could start to feel my body shaking. After all my peers finish their speech, it was then my turn. I walked over to the middle of the hall and stood directly in front of all the students, watching as all their eyes were on me. I took a deep breath and said my first opening line, “There is no shame in failing...” and the rest came out naturally. After I finished my speech I was then greeted with a loud roar of claps echoing throughout the hall. All the nervousness was gone, replacing it with a huge smile on my face. I finally did it I said to myself but however that didn’t end for me after a few weeks later I was told that I was chosen by the year 9 students  to represent my school in the Jack Petchey challenge. I was gobsmacked.

My teacher, Mrs. Mack -Poole, didn’t waste any time in helping me improves my speech and the way I was presenting it for the Jack Petchey challenge, for several weeks Mrs Mack-Poole has been correcting the way I should say certain words or how I should stay still when presenting my speak making me start again when I make one single mistake but it was worth it. Soon the day of the competition came and I started to feel the nerves once again, when I walked through that hall in Townley it all started to feel all real, seeing all other students from different schools waiting anxiously some was talking to the previous winner from, last year Anna G, she was giving us reassurance that everything was going to be okay. After, all of the students including me were sent to what was the drama room, this is where we were introduced to one another asking questions like what school you where from or what was your speech about however we had to do this but saying mingle mingle mingle very very fast when we walked around the room and stop to see a random person in front of you. After introducing each other we had then, say our opening sentence following with your ending sentence in front of the students there. Chris who was the representative of Jack Petchey speak out challenge ,work with our opening line and closing line making either corrections on how to say it or how you present it. Soon after we had a food break, and then we were talked through about how to put the microphone on and how not to step over the mate that was on the floor or else u will be out of the camera shot. After all of the important things is out of the way we then had the chance to practice more (which I took the advantage for) or wait till we are called down. After 20 mins of waiting and more practising it was time to go down to the hall.

I could see the numbers of parents and teaches walking in to find their seats the rush of nervous suddenly came again. After all the parents found their seats the competition began. Slowly one by one each student began their speakers and slowly one by one it was getting closer to my turn, after the wait it was my turn to speak, the audience roared with clasps with response to my name when it was introduced , which gave me the signal that it was my time to shine. I took a deep breath in and began to say the opening line that I have been practicing from weeks onto hours ‘there is no shame in failing’ and then it all came naturally not missing a single beat. After finishing my ending line the ends of clapping and feet stomping greeting me back to reality, I did it I thought I did it, walking back proudly to my seat catching a glimpse of my family sitting in the front row smiling a cheering as loud as they could ever be, looking proudly, that is a moment I will never forget.  

After all of the other speakers finish all of their speeches it was the ceremony to see who the winner, runner up was, or who even came third. It was a very tough competition to say the least and after we received our framed certificate with our picture with the Mayor of Bexley it was the moment of truth. The third and second place winners came up and got their trophies but it was the moment of truth who was going to be the winner of the regional final, the room was quite with anticipation and suddenly the winner was called out, the winner was from a student from townely grammar. We all said our congratulations to each other, and even though I didn’t come first in the competition I won the feeling of that I learned something throughout this whole adventure, I won the feeling of seeing my family feel proud of me when I was up on that stage talking about what I really did care about, I won the feeling of someone coming up to me and say ‘Katie your speech was amazing and it was my favourite’. I won the feeling of victory in my heart. I won that emotional feeling that money can never buy. And in my own little way it felt as if I was a true winner.

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