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Postcode wars condemnation wins Hackney schools’ speaking battle

PUBLISHED: 13:31 14 May 2012

MP Diane Abbot with Speak Out champions (l to r): runner-up Salmah Bilal, winner Princess Ashilokun and runner-up Rolanda Knight

MP Diane Abbot with Speak Out champions (l to r): runner-up Salmah Bilal, winner Princess Ashilokun and runner-up Rolanda Knight

Carmen Valino

A schoolgirl’s passionate speech denouncing postcode wars took her to victory in the Hackney regional final of a youth public-speaking contest.

Princess Ashilokun, 15, spoke about the pointlessness of postcode conflict in the final of the Speak Out Challenge held at Stoke Newington School, Clissold Road.

The Cardinal Pole School pupil fought off stiff competition from 15 other Year 10 speakers from the borough in front of a panel of judges including MP Diane Abbot and police Chief Supt Matthew Horne, Hac kney’s borough commander.

Miss Ashilokun said: “It’s all about self-belief. No matter what happens, having the drive and the confidence can get you the whole way. I am over the moon – My English teacher will be over the moon!”

She won an iPod touch and will compete for a place in the grand final of the Speak Out Challenge on July 2.

Her parents added: “We are so very proud of our daughter. We really hope she speaks at the grand final.”

Second place in the competition went to Rolanda Knight, 14, from Haggerston School for her speech called ‘I have a dream’ about accepting each other’s sexuality. Clapton Girls Academy student Salimah Bilal, 14, came third with her speech on sibling rivalry.

More than 200 pupils from seven Hackney secondary schools took part in the seventh annual Young Speakers competition, which was delivered by the Speakers Trust and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation.


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