A student from Holy Cross School in New Malden, Kingston, was crowned regional champion at a youth public speaking event.

The speech was titled “Prisoners of Society” and shared the idea of following your own dream regardless of societal expectations.

In the speech, winner Dom Lewis said: “Follow your passions, follow your dreams and become that dancer that you wanted to be! Not that investment banker that you were told to be.”

You can watch Dom’s winning speech here.

Surrey Comet:

The digital finalists selected from each school came together remotely on Zoom to compete in the competition on Tuesday night.

Dom received a £100 gift certificate and the chance to go through to the Grand Final of the competition which is to be held in London’s West End.

The next stage is the Semi-Final selection day in October, where a panel of judges watches the videos of all the Digital Champions.

15 speakers are shortlisted for the Grand Final, where the winner will win £5,000 (a £2,000 bursary for themselves and £3,000 for the school.)

The judges are looking for strong content (focusing on a positive message), delivery and structure.

After taking the title, Dom said: “I am in shock, shaken didn’t expect this at all.

“It is a great experience, thank you so much Sir Jack Petchey.

"This is mind blowing.”

Over 20,000 year 10 students (14-15 year olds) from 500 state schools in London and Essex have taken part in the challenge.

The runner-up title was awarded to Ariana Ahmad from Tolworth Girl’ School and Sixth Form in Surbiton, with her speech “What Is Normal?”.

Third Place went to Nathan Fairhurst, Richard Challoner School in New Malden with a speech named ”Where's Wally?”.

Each of the students that take part receives an all-day public speaking workshop from the UK’s leading public speaking and communication charity, Speakers Trust.

At the end of this workshop, a contest is held and each school selects a speaker to go through to the Digital Final.

The programme is funded and supported by the Jack Petchey Foundation.