GUEST COLUMN: Ashfield should be proud of its youngsters, by Jane Kirchin, Ashfield School

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It’s too easy to think about young people in terms of all the bad news stories we see.

Yet the truth is, rather than a lost generation, many of our youngsters are more focused than ever on achievement in its many different guises, whether that be sport, academia, career-related or the arts.

In actual fact, the pursuit of achievement helps develop the kinds of skills that employers are desperate for: team working, working independently, focus, motivation, creative thinking, overcoming obstacles, and so the list goes on.

This was brought to my mind this week with the extraordinary achievement of two very different groups of Ashfield School and Post 16 students, within very different arenas, both equally as impressive.

Firstly, Ashfield Post 16 Uniformed Services students received the prestigious Lord Lieutenant’s Award for Promoting Voluntary Service. Students are pictured here receiving the award from Mark Goldby, Deputy Lieutenant and Colonel Tim Richmond, Vice Lord-Lieutenant. Col Richmond described the students as ‘leaders of the future’, and Mr Goldby congratulated them on ‘the wonderful work you have and continue to do in support of our uniformed services’.

Ms Julie Taylor, head of uniformed services, said of her students: “The students really commit to the voluntary work and fundraising aspect of the course, and I am always impressed at the effort and enthusiasm with which they approach these endeavours. It really enables them to think about those who have suffered in the line of duty serving their country, whether in the public or the military uniformed services, and the spirit with which the students throw themselves into activities never ceases to make me incredibly proud.”

Secondly, Ashfield School’s internationally-renowned school choir, Ashfield Vocal Ensemble, have recently returned from a tour that saw them sing, by invitation, in the stunning Lille Cathedral and equally beautiful St. Salvator’s Cathedral in Bruges.

Last year saw them perform, by special invitation, in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, and at EuroDisney. There are few choirs afforded the opportunity to sing in these impressive venues, much less school choirs, and the students produced spine-tingling performances on all occasions. Mr Thomas Atkins, assistant head of PE and performing arts, who accompanied the choir along with choir director Mrs Elaine Guy, said: “Once again the choir sang beautifully in several prestigious venues and were excellent ambassadors for Ashfield School and the Kirkby-in- Ashfield/Ronchin twinning association.

“It has always been, and continues to be, a privilege to work with such talented, hardworking and dedicated young people.”

So, Ashfield – the school and the area - has much to be proud of in its young people!