Forty Year 10s rose to the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge, an annual workshop and event that develops their public speaking, writing, and confidence skills. Six of our most inspiring public speakers - Adrian Zeqja, Kayla Matthews, Maria Jarvis, Dominic Jones, Max Bolton, and Amelie Ashton - qualified for the Debden Speak Off - a hotly-contested competition in front of 180 other Year 10s to select the Debden Finalist for the West Essex Region Gala.
They left the judges a little ... speechless!
Polished and poised, their content and delivery were "so powerful", in the words of Madam Copson, "you could hear a pin drop" among the audience.
From Gender and Geography to Transsexuals in Toilets, every speech galvanised the audience with a moving message. Such was the calibre of our semi-finalists this year that the judges were compelled to tweak the shortlist: they selected three, not two, finalists for the ultimate Speak Off!
Going head to head, Kayla Matthews, Amelie Ashton, and Max Bolton seized the stage, the audience hushing and shuffling on the edges of seats.
But only one Year 10 student could be the Debden Speak OutChampion: delivering a satirically-witty speech on Royal Benefits, Max Bolton clinched the Debden deal, with Amelie and Kayla as our Reserve and third-place winners respectively.
Max will Speak Out for DPHS at the West Essex Regional Final on Thursday 10 May, 6pm, at Epping St. John's School.
A huge congratulations to all our speakers on their outstanding achievement, and please be invited to join DPHS staff and students in supporting Max next Thursday on what promises to be a highly entertaining evening!