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Bromley mum launches primary school public speaking festival to promote social mobility

PUBLISHED: 08:06 30 December 2017

Ronke Kokoruwe gives a certificate to Mitzi Brown-Acquaye one of the winners of the iVerbalize public speaking festival at St Mark's C of E Primary School. Picture: Ronke Kokoruwe

Ronke Kokoruwe gives a certificate to Mitzi Brown-Acquaye one of the winners of the iVerbalize public speaking festival at St Mark's C of E Primary School. Picture: Ronke Kokoruwe

Archant

A Bromley mum is on mission to level the playing field for primary school children by building public speaking.

Shortlands resident Ronke Kokoruwe, a former litigation lawyer, has launched a speech festival called iVerbalize Limited, hoping to tour primary schools across the borough.

The first event took place at St Mark’s C of E primary school, Aylesbury Road, with 17 pupils reciting original poetry, speeches and stories.

“It’s became quite obvious to me that public speaking is a crucial skill,” said the 42-year-old.

“It is a vehicle to help the cause of social mobility.”

“The ability to communicate and articulate one’s thoughts and views is a skill that cannot be underestimated.”

The festival saw children reciting poems in an expansive range of topics – from not eating goldfish to covering your nose when you sneeze.

Adjudicating the competition was retired bank lawyer SuiChin McKeand who is an advanced member of the international public speaking club Toastmasters.

Year 4 pupil Nathaniel Hurst won the senior category with a recitation of Colin McNaughton’s I Don’t Want to go to School.

Mitzi Brown-Acquaye came first in the junior category, with a self-composed poem called Family and Friends.

The overall creativity prize was awarded to Year 1 pupil Morayo Bamigbola, for her poem titled Oh No! Where’s the snow?

Explaining the reason for starting at primary school level, Ronke added: “Studies have shown that primary school is the best place for public speaking to commence as the goal is to catch them before the fear of speaking in public overtakes them.”

“Further, it levels the playing field for children and helps to equalize the life chances of those from less privileged backgrounds.”

The event was sponsored by the McLaren Group, Tesco, Tiger stores and Paperchase in Bromley.

Discussing next steps for the charity, Ronke said: “I would like to take it to as many boroughs as possible.

The next festival is due to take place at the Trinity Church of England Primary School, in Prince’s Plain, on January 28.

For information on how the festival can come to your school, email: ronke@iverbalize.co.uk

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