Student conquers nerves to win national public speaking competition

A Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Voluntary Academy student is celebrating after winning a national public speaking competition.

Peter admits that speaking in front of an audience terrifies him but he still managed to triumph at the Catenians National Public Speaking Competition.

The 17-year-old, who is studying at Blessed Robert Sutton CVA Sixth Form, made it through to the national final after winning a regional competition.

At both events Peter spoke for four minutes and his speech was titled ‘Freedom is not given, it is won.’

He said: “There were 15 of us altogether who were competing from across the country, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and there were about 400 people in the audience. I think that’s the largest amount of people I’ve spoken in front of. I hate public speaking but I seem able just to put the fear to one side. I feel physically sick just before I go on stage but once I start talking it’s fine, it’s just the run up to it that’s generally awful.

“I always go note free and I think that’s because I have an acting background and it doesn’t feel natural for me to be holding notes. I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of winning as there were lots of very, very good speakers at the competition who were really confident.”

Peter has been supported by his maths teacher Mrs A McDowall, who is also a public speaking coach.

He said: “We run through breathing exercises and she has talked to me about how to use tone and inflection to show emotion and how to use the tempo of your voice to make sure you sound

The teenager won £200 and a trophy for himself and £100 and a trophy for school.

Aidan Smith, Headteacher at Blessed Robert Sutton CVA, in Burton, said everyone was extremely proud of Peter.
He said: “Peter is a fantastic ambassador for Blessed Robert Sutton CVA and we are all delighted about his tremendous success. We encourage our students to be resilient, challenge themselves and conquer their fears and Peter is a great example of this.”

Articled written by Nicola Allen of AllenPR.