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Mina Strevens takes place in Grand Final

5 Jul 2022

After a challenging pandemic with far reaching consequences for schools, students and oracy skills, the Jack Petchey Foundation recognised and responded to the needs of young people. They made it possible for more than 30,000 students to be part of the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! this academic year alone, making this the highest number of students ever trained on the programme in such a short amount of this.

The Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! provides year 10 students in state schools across London and Essex with public speaking and communication training to increase their confidence, sense of agency and drive to make a difference in society.

During the academic year, over 400 schools have received a free one-day public speaking workshop for their students. The student’s confidence in speaking to an audience, without notes, is measured at the beginning and at the end of the day. During 2021-22, 77% of students have increased their confidence to stand up and talk to a group of people. At the end of the day, every school nominates one student to go on to the Regional Final, where they compete again other school finalists and their speeches are judged based on content delivery and structure by a panel of esteemed judges. After going on to win the semi-finals, our 15 most inspirational, articulate, and impressive speakers are now ready to present their speech to you!

We will celebrate the achievements of these awe-inspiring young people in the heart of London’s West End at Cambridge Theatre on Monday 18th July and crown the 2022 “Speak Out” Champion!

In no particular order, meet Grand Finalist Mina Strevens!

Mina’s speech ‘What do you Think of Me?’ earned them and their school, Glenthorne High School, a place in the Sutton Regional Final. Mina questions our interpretation and intended meaning of the word ‘feminist’ by asking us some straight-forward yet challenging questions. 

We asked Mina, what three items or people would you choose to take to a desert island and why? 

” 1) Books- a collection of my favourites or, if I had to choose one, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, because I think, no matter how many times you read a book, you can always find new ideas, hidden meaning or insinuations that will intrigue or change your outlook.

2) Source of music such as an iPod, phone, MP3, etc because listening to music has become an essential part of my life, especially in the past few years as I feel it allows us as humans to connect on such an emotional level and and relate to things we didn’t even know how to vocalise.

3) A pad and pen/pencil because I am not bringing anyone to the island with me in case of a potential lord of the flies situation and so need an outlet of thoughts and ideas to, essentially, keep my sanity.”

You could have made a speech anything in the world. Why did you speak about this one subject? 

I chose to speak about feminism because, not only is it an issue that I relate to and feel strongly about but this idea that, yes, feminism is “overused” and “talked about too much” and yet it is an undeniable fact that women are still perceived as lesser or weaker. In order to induce change, equality needs to be universally acknowledged and normalised. We don’t need someone to actively employ a person of an opposing gender so they’re not seen as sexist. We need people to employ others without bias to their gender, focusing on strengths and them as a person. All genders need to recognised as equal and it needs to be done so without argument or reproach. Most of all, we need to teach younger generations that this bias shouldn’t be there in the first place and continue to remove it in older ones.”

How would you like people to think / act differently from hearing your story? 

I would like an acknowledgement and hopefully agreement to what I have to say about feminism. The whole point of this speech isn’t to antagonise or put down men but in fact to explain and reverse that stigma. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any offended or defensive reactions but hopefully respect of what I have to say.”

Why do you think it’s important for young people, like you, to share their stories? 

I think that although our society and world has evolved and improved immensely, there is still horrendous amounts of inequality and simple hatred towards difference. Of course, this is a completely hopeless thought that many young people who are already suffering with depression, anxiety and coping with life don’t necessarily need preaching to them all the time and so I think younger people’s voices of hope and change need to be heard in order to evoke the motivation to do so in all generations, not just younger ones. We need to normalise taking advice from younger people; of course, with age does come wisdom but that doesn’t mean we should rule out younger opinions or thoughts.”


Watch Mina’s winning speech 

Join us at the Grand Final for an inspiring night of young speakers.