Mount Carmel pupil Valerie can talk for England

Mount Carmel Catholic School for Girls pupil Valerie Gyamfi gives her winning speech in the Islingto

Mount Carmel Catholic School for Girls pupil Valerie Gyamfi gives her winning speech in the Islington regional final of the Jack Petchey Foundation's speak out challenge. Picture: Speakers Trust - Credit: Archant

The winner of an Islington schools public speaking competition last night wasn’t even on the original roster to take part.

Valerie Gyamfi, 14, a year 10 pupil at Mount Carmel Catholic School for Girls in Archway, grabbed the top prize for her speech, Africa.

It was in the Islington regional final of the Speakers Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation’s “speak out” challenge. Valerie beat competition from 19 other speakers.

She won a £100 prize and will progress to the national “speak out” challenge in July.

Valerie said: “I’m feeling amazing. I was not even on the list but somebody stepped down so I could take part, and I could not even think of a speech for so long.”

The competition, for year 10 students across Islington, was held at Mount Carmel itself after a day of training.

Isabella Wolday-Meyers, 14, of St Mary Magdalene School, came second with her speech True Beauty. Third went to Turac Muezzinoglu, 14, from Islington Arts and Media School, for his speech Opportunities.