The Rotary Club’s annual Children of Courage Awards were held on Tuesday 19th March in Sleaford. As is always the case, the winners displayed a great amount of courage and it was a pleasure to award them their titles.
Isabella is blind and attends St George’s Academy, Ruskington. She has embraced the hum and drum of a busy mainstream academy.
The courage that she has displayed in all aspects of this is truly incredible. She moves freely around the school using her cane, memorising all the routes to lessons, positions in classes and how to work out the lessons themselves.
She is master of Grade II UEB contracted braille, learning all the contracted short-forms and now really getting to grips with double-sided braille for reading. This is very tricky.
She has overcome the challenges of new and different subjects, really embracing the world of science, a subject that she has never encountered before.
Her musical talents are note-worthy, she is currently working through her grade 6 piano, but also learning to read music braille.
She has a lion-hearted approach to all things new. There is nothing she will not attempt, and she gives every effort to all her lessons, life lessons and all that the world can present her with.
Brandon is an amazing young man who was referred to The Pilgrim School in November 2017. He is a very active lad who enjoyed playing football with his mates. Due to a freak accident he suffered concussion whilst playing as a goalkeeper in a goalmouth incident that also resulted in him becoming blind. Brandon and his family have worked tirelessly to come to terms with new learning skills and coping strategies surrounding his mental health and blindness. His attitude and resilience are outstanding and even on bad days he remains forward thinking, positive, polite and a real character; he is an inspirational young man.
Although Brandon is taught in the home by Pilgrim staff, he remains upbeat and chatty and engages well with his work. He has remained friends with his mates from mainstream school and recently went camping with his dad at Cadwell Park so he could relish the experience. I am sure this is something that would unnerve most adults who found themselves in his situation; however, his positivity and resilience push him forward to challenge limitations and make the most of every opportunity.
Although Brandon does not attend a school base and is taught in the home, he is a valued student at our school and, according to his teaching and support staff, is a dream to work with.
Ella, who attends Sleaford and Kesteven High School, was diagnosed with an extremely rare metabolic disease as a baby. She has a number of day to day symptoms which, most days, affect how she feels and her condition can also be very serious if it is not fully controlled. She takes a number of long-term medications and has a strict diet that restricts her protein and ensures she has plenty of carbohydrates to help manage her condition and alleviate her symptoms.
Despite this backdrop to her health, Ella continues to dig deep, with sheer resilience and courage every day. She continues to live life to the full, enjoys socializing with her friends and family, reading, netball and all the things that teenage girls like to do!
She is extremely committed to her school work and pushes herself to achieve her academic potential despite how unwell she can regularly feel. Ella’s academic progress has far surpassed all expectations for a young person with her condition. We all feel extremely proud of Ella.
Jack has faced many challenging family difficulties since joining St George’s Academy, Sleaford in September. He always comes to school with a smile on his face and ready to learn attitude. Jack seems to take the difficulties thrown at him in his stride and aims to achieve to the best of his abilities. He never complains and is always helping others.
Jack has settled into a new home and is learning different skills to equip him through life. His passion is football and he uses this in a positive way by attending training and playing for the school team.
Jack is a resilient young man who will make the best of any situation he finds himself in.
Jemma is a delightful young lady who was referred from her mainstream school to The Pilgrim School in early 2018. She was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and found attending mainstream school very difficult. This subsequently increased her anxieties to extreme levels and which further led to school avoidance. Jemma suffered the loss of a close friend 2 years ago to cancer and subsequently Jemma was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Jemma lives at home with her parents and siblings. She has to deal with the regular deployment of her father who is a member of the Armed Forces. Jemma is a student who struggles to understand other people’s reactions and coping strategies and throughout times when her peer group have been low and using unhealthy coping strategies, Jemma has continued to be the student we all know and love. She recently had a falling-out with some of her peer group but was able to keep her spirits high and be a shining example to others of how to remain resilient in the face of adversity. Jemma has recently shown an interest in making more friends at The Pilgrim School which is something that she finds very difficult; this is also testament to her character. More recently, Jemma’s father was returned from deployment due to medical reasons and was ill for a time. Jemma remained positive at school and worked through her sadness.
In short, Jemma is a fantastic student who is an integral part of The Pilgrim School. She is a pleasure to work with and engages well with staff and lessons. We are very lucky to have this lovely young lady and look forward to great things as she moves into year 11 in September.
Ben is 13 and in year 8 at St George’s Academy, Ruskington. When he was five months old, he was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition that is characterized by several congenital heart defects and he is also asthmatic.
Ben had corrective surgery when he was 6 months old and faces corrective surgery as he grows. He lives with the realities of his condition every day. He is limited as to how much he can engage in activities as any other boy of his age would and great attention needs to be paid to him when he feels under the weather. However, Ben and his family work tirelessly to be positive about his condition and the path he faces. They have raised over £6,000 for Heartlink, the charity associated with Glenfield Hospital who treat him.
Ben is an extraordinary young man. He is bright and confident with a real twinkle in his eye! He is making excellent academic progress and is popular amongst staff and students alike. We are delighted as an Academy to be able to recognise his courageous approach to life through this event.
Crystal attends St George’s Academy, Sleaford and is a hardworking and enthusiastic student. She always tries her absolute best in lessons and can be relied upon to help with tasks and to be a role model to her peers. That, in itself, is enough to make St George’s proud of her as part of the Academy, however, the fact that she continued to conduct herself in this manner after the tragic death of her friend Eliza, is testament to her true strength of character. For those of you who do not already know, shortly before Christmas Crystal and her friend Eliza were involved in a serious road traffic accident. Tragically, Eliza was killed and Crystal was injured in the accident. She had a short stay in hospital and luckily has no lasting physical injuries. The courage, strength and determination she has shown in overcoming this tragic event and supporting others is truly humbling. She returned to school and her studies almost immediately following the accident and has displayed such positivity and care for others that she truly deserves this award.