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Claremont High School Academy

‘The best feeling in the world!’

Brent students find their voice at regional public-speaking competition 

On 23rd January 2024, Claremont High School played host to the Brent Regional Final of Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge. Year 10 students from eight schools across Brent, including three Claremont students – Pedram Abasi, Mariam Al-Shfdifat and Veera Mehta – competed to win a coveted place at the next round, the semi-finals in May this year. 

The Speak Out Challenge aims to amplify the voices of young people, building their confidence, developing their skills and creating platforms for them to share their stories and ideas. Supported by the Jack Petchey Foundation, the Challenge is the largest public-speaking programme in England and is managed and delivered by the Speakers Trust, the UK's leading public-speaking organisation. It provides free communication skills training to Year 10 students in every state school in London and Essex, empowering over 30,000 young people each year. 

The judges on the night included Deesha Chandra, Impact Director at TEDxLondon, Kyron Greenwood, Youth and Pathways Manager at the Kiln Theatre, Amita Joshi, Digital Editor at Sky News and Year 11 Claremont student – and 2023 Speak Out Regional Final runner-up - Asher Siddiqui. The schools represented included Ark Academy, JFS, Kingsbury High School, Preston Manor School and Queens Park Community School. The Deputy Mayor of Brent, Councillor Dariq Tar, was also present to show his support and award the prizes. 

Pedram Abasi from Claremont gave a stirring speech entitled ‘Homes not Houses’. The thought-provoking content and Pedram’s compelling delivery earned him the runner-up position at the Brent Regional Final. He reflected on his experience afterwards: ‘For anyone taking part in Jack Petchey's Speak Out Challenge, one thing I've learnt is that you dread having to speak and yet, the second you go on stage, it's the best feeling in the world. I'm so happy! Thank you.’