Sky's the limit for Hornchurch student who came 3rd in world's largest youth public speaking competition

Michaylia Stephenson Hornchurch High

Year 11 pupil Michaylia Stephenson came third overall in the 2020 Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge, beating almost 20,000 participants. - Credit: Hornchurch High School

The future is bright for one of Hornchurch High's finest after she came third in the Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge.

Year 11 Michaylia Stephenson beat off almost 20,000 entries with a poignant speech entitled A Hairy Situation.

She went on quite a journey, progressing through regional rounds to make the grand event (broadcast live on YouTube this month).

In her speech, Michaylia said: "No one asked me many questions, but I know how it made me feel. The wig was the only thing that gave me confidence, but yet it wasn't real."

After her success - for which a cash prize is the tip of the iceberg - Michaylia's message was simple: "Think about what you value most in life."

Teacher Lara Holmes said the school is "incredibly proud" of Michaylia, crediting her for "capturing the hearts of the judges".