Upminster student achieves third place in 'world's largest' youth speaking competition

Solomon Sankoh

Gaynes School pupil Solomon Sankoh - Credit: Jack Petchey/Speakers Trust

An Upminster student placed bronze in the "world's largest" youth speaking competition with a moving story about his experience of homelessness.

Gaynes School pupil Solomon Sankoh took part in Jack Petchey’s ‘Speak Out’ Challenge! in late December alongside over 9,000 students from 249 state schools throughout London and Essex.

Solomon placed third after his speech on his family’s eviction and the importance of never giving up.

He said: “I’ve gained a confidence in myself that will never go away."

Gemma Juma, deputy chief executive of the Jack Petchey Foundation, said: “It’s been such an inspiring evening watching the young people who have come so far in this past year perform live on stage to a room full of applause and cheers.”

Delivered by the Speakers Trust and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation, the competition helps 14- to 15-year-olds build confidence through public speaking skills, is now in its 16th year and claims to be the biggest youth speaking competition around the globe.

View Solomon's speech in full at https://youtu.be/p78nxUMbYEU.