Organizers of the Kasanufo Public Speaking Training and Contest were in a big surprise when a 16-year-old Doreen Yegbe, SHS2, entered the training.
Over the past 5 years, people within the age ranges of 18 to 30, 31 to 40, and 41 to 50 have entered the training and participated in the contest.
In 2023, however, the organizers of the Kasanufo Public Speaking Training and Contest were in a big surprise. 16-year-old Doreen Yegbe, who at the time was in SHS2, entered the training.
This means that Doreen is the youngest, and the first Senior High School student to participate in the annual Kasanufo Public Speaking Training and Contest.
Doreen, now 17, is currently a final year student at the Accra Girls’ Senior High School. She loves reading, writing, and speaking. She loves to model too, and hopes to become a TV Media Personality in the next decade.
Doreen got to know about the Kasanufo program through her teacher in school. Being one who wanted to better her public speaking skills, she seized the opportunity.
“I didn’t know anything else about public speaking aside confidence. I also felt the need to participate in the training to learn from the known to the unknown. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate when my teacher, Sir Patrick, told me about Kasanufo,” Doreen shared.
For Doreen, being the youngest participant in the training was intimidating in the beginning. It was quite challenging to juggle school with weekend training sessions, yet, her hard work and resilience to learn took her through.
“When I first entered the seminar room, I got scared and told my teacher we should go back because I realized everybody in the room was way older than me and it made me panic. The first two weeks were tiring because I was going for the training on weekends and then school on weekdays, which was pretty exhausting for me. I got myself used to it and started putting everything I learnt into practice,” she admitted.
With time, young Doreen got her head into the game. She had heads turning, ears listening, and hands clapping not only during the training sessions but in school as well.
“Within two weeks of training, my teachers and friends started complimenting me on my voice, grammar, vocabulary, and most importantly, my confidence during class presentations.”
“I never wanted the training to end,” she laughed. “I was getting more than I paid for, and it made me super bold whenever I was about to say something.”
The entire Kasanufo experience was wholesome and magical for Doreen. She could not run out of words to describe how it all felt.
“My confidence was boosted. I discovered that I was a great storyteller, learnt how to use PowerPoint for presentations, met a few media personalities, networked, and made good friends. I also got to know about emotional intelligence and how it helps in public speaking, how to begin and end speeches or presentations, and how to engage an audience during a presentation. The training was so detailed that I was surprised when Efo mentioned the Masterclass. I wondered, ‘Are they even making money,’ because the training was quality!” she exclaimed with so much excitement in her voice.
Now, Doreen is collectively utilizing all the skills she acquired in the KPSTC to build a brand for herself in school.
“I have been able to use all these skills effectively in my class presentations, presentations before the headmistress and head of domestic affairs, and inter-school debates.”
At the Grand Finale of the contest, Doreen was part of the Top 5 finalists and was named the first-ever Youngest Orator as part of the Kafui Dey Excellence in Public Speaking Awards.
The Kafui Dey Excellence in Public Speaking is an award scheme which is part of the KPSTC and is meant to celebrate the life of legendary speaker, Kafui Dey.
It was obvious that she left a lasting impression on the judges and audience, from how they praised her and urged her to keep up the hard work.
Doreen looks forward to teaching in a primary school for a while after school to further sharpen her public speaking prowess while awaiting admission from the university.
For Doreen, “Everybody, whether young or old, should have public speaking at their fingertips. You never know when there’ll be a need for it. So, to every person out there, public speaking cuts across all professions and is a stepping stone to reaching great heights. Let Kasanufo Public Speaking Training and Contest be that stone on which you step.”
By: Mawuse Abla Agbolosu