More than 100 guests gathered to honour deserving youngsters at Mansfield Rotary Club’s annual courage awards.
More than a dozen nominated youngsters from schools and colleges across the district were recognised in front of their family and friends at yesterday’s luncheon and ceremony at Mansfield’s Civic Quarter.
Cate Hunt, rotary club president for the year – the club’s first female president – told the assembled guests at the end: “It’s been extremely moving.
“They all deserve to be honoured for the way they have all shown courage in overcoming their own adversity.
“It makes you proud to be part of Mansfield and the surrounding districts.”
Guests at the event included reigning Miss Mansfield Amy Bielby, Mansfield mayor Kate Allsop, reigning Miss Mansfield Outstanding Teen Lucy Edwards, Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 chairman Russell Jones and Jon Ball, Chad head of content.
Mrs Allsop said: “The stories we heard were absolutely incredible.
“To hear how these youngsters have overcome adversity to continue their lives is absolutely fantastic.”
Jon said: “It was a privilege to be present on behalf of your Chad.”
Nathan Richardson, The Brunts Academy
Despite regular trips to hospital, Nathan Richardson, 12, who has cystic fibrosis is always positive when he returns to school.
Nathan’s teachers at The Brunts Academy say he shows “extreme resilience and takes great strength”.
At school his favourite subject is Food Technology.
He said: “I like getting my hands in and not having to write a load of things down, mainly doing practical activities. It also makes me happy to know that people like the things I am cooking.”
Nathan loves playing the card game Magic the Gathering and games on his X-box.
He is also a big fan of Percy Jackson books. Nathan’s diverse interests have inspired his plans for the future and he would like to be a game designer, chef or Youtuber when he leaves school.
Mark Hart , Samworth Church Academy
A love of four-legged friends has helped a 14-year-old pupil at The Samworth Church Academy come out of his shell.
While in year 7, Mark found it very difficult to make friends and communicate with others and he attended just one lesson a day.
But now in year 9 he has transformed into a chatty young man with over 90 per cent attendance.
Working with his teacher Miss Price he has developed a passion for animals.
Caring for all the animals at school has become an outlet that has given him confidence to communicate with others, laugh and joke and even ‘become cheeky’, staff said.
However it was the love of one very special dog named Echo that helped Mark the most.
Echo taught Mark true friendship, loyalty and trust, he also taught Mark how to deal with loss when illness sadly took him.
Staff at his school said: “Mark is an amazing young man and The Samworth Church Academy is extremely proud of his achievements.”
Ryan Smith, APTCOO and Communication Specialist College, Doncaster
A 22-year-old student with severe hearing loss has overcome his difficulties and has been described as a ‘role model’ to others.
Ryan, of Forest Town, transferred to APTCOO from specialist British Sign Language tuition at the Communication Specialist College in Doncaster.
Staff at the college said the transfer was a huge undertaking with a new set of hurdles for Ryan.
Carol Burkitt, who nominated Ryan said: “He has tackled many day to day difficulties with signs of frustration, anxiety and also incredible bravery within a genuine learning and working environment without the constant safety net of BSL signing. Ryan quickly changed from surviving into thriving with an infectious sense of humour.”
He has developed his love for woodwork and photography while at the college and now has aspirations to work with young people in an educational setting.
To expand Ryan’s knowledge in this specialist field he has also chosen, in his spare time, to volunteer at APTCOO.
Ms Burkitt said: “It has been a real privilege to see Ryan work through his fears and start achieving on a scale none of us could have imagined.”
Daniel Muggridge - Portland College
A Portland College student, who was diagnosed with a personality disorder, is pursuing his dream of studying hospitality management.
Despite adversity, Daniel Muggridge, aged 18, has applied for a level 3 extended diploma in hospitality and events management in a mainstream college for September 2017.
Daniel’s educational standards have returned to the level at which they were upon leaving secondary education in 2014.
He has also started an internship at The School House Restaurant in South Normanton.
His teachers said that Daniel is positively looking forward to his future and constantly planning his next steps.
Daniel is also a representative on the student council at the Portland College and is fully embedded into college life.
He is a fan of Sheffield Steelers, the city’s ice hockey team as well as music and comedy.
- Garibaldi College
A student at Garibaldi College has overcome his autism and social difficulties to receive an unconditional offer at university to study ICT – a subject he really enjoys.
Kyle Taylor, 17, will study computer forensics and security at Nottingham Trent University next year.
His hobbies include gaming, reading and listening to music.
Daniel Pawson - All Saints Academy
A student at All Saints Academy has wowed his teachers by tackling personal difficulties and taking on a plethora of school activities.
Daniel Pawson, aged 14, has made ‘tremendous’ progress from primary to secondary school overcoming very difficult communication, interactive and social problems.
His teachers said that Daniel has many hidden difficulties which creates anxiety and interaction with the world.
However, he attends school every day - and still makes time for extracurricular activities, which include swimming, performing arts and boccia.
In the future he would like to work in a performing arts role as music and drama are his favourite subject because he feels he can express himself in these lessons and feels totally included.
Katie Birch - Vision West Nottinghamshire College
A hairdressing student who has overcome mental health issues has been nominated for the Courage Award for showing ‘motivation, inner strength and determination to turn her life around’.
Katie Birch, 17, was admitted to a mental health facility on her 14th birthday after becoming unwell.
When Katie left hospital after two years, she moved back home with her parents.
However, she had a difficult time and was taken into foster care at the age of 16.
She decided to enrol at Vision West Nottinghamshire College to achieve her ambition of becoming a hairdresser.
When Katie joined she was new to the college environment, behind with her coursework and being around a large number of people took a lot of getting used to.
Initially, Katie was quite shy and nervous but staff say her confidence has grown and her social skills are now outstanding.
Katie said: “I now have the most friends I’ve ever had in my life”.
Other skills which have been developed are basic hairdressing, verbal and nonverbal communication, and also the confidence and maturity to let people know when she doesn’t feel well and needs support.
She plans to become a mobile hairdresser when she leaves college.
Kacey Cotton, Queen Elizabeth’s Academy
A prefect at Queen Elizabeth’s Academy has impressed her teachers and with her positive attitude after a scooter accident.
Kacey Cotton, aged 12, had a fall while riding her scooter and badly injured her leg. While in hospital doctors discovered that she had a tumour.
The tumour was found to be benign, although it could cause development issues in the future. Kacey remained positive throughout the ordeal and her teachers said she has been an inspiration to her peers and friends.
In her role as prefect Kacey has continued to support her fellow students ands ensure their voice is heard at Queen Elizabeth’s Academy.
At school, Kaceys favourite lesson is art and has a talent for watercolour prints - her most memorable piece is a desert tiger. She hopes to become a doctor and is working hard to improve her maths attainment this year.
Ellie Bradshaw - Fountaindale School
A 19-year-old pupil has shown bravery in the face of illness.
Ellie Bradshaw has been nominated for the Courage Awards after a long period of illness and discomfort.
Despite this she has attended school whenever possible and staff at Fountaindale School said she has ‘kept on going’.