Great day of aspiration at William Edwards with Rugby World Cup Star, Jamie Roberts

WILLIAM Edwards School continued its trend of bringing to Thurrock some of the great names of world sport last week.

Its ‘Day of Aspirations’ was built on an Olympic theme by teacher Kelly Stevens, with one of the world’s best freestyle footballers, Colin Nell, in school for the whole day with local rugby internationals Emily Scott and Michael Stanley. Colin, Emily and Michael engaged the students in numerous football and rugby workshops and introduced them to a new, healthy lifestyle.

The evening saw a unique Prize Giving Event in its maiden production with guest of honour, one of the world’s greatest rugby players, Jamie Roberts of Wales and the Cardiff Blues. Jamie travelled up as a special guest of former Deputy Head Ralph Henderson, M.B.E. as part of his campaign to bring the best in the world to Thurrock based on the belief that ‘Aspiration is the sequel to inspiration.’

The evening event was organised by Assistant head Ian Bolt, Liam Wilkins and Shola Shittu performed solos, whilst Headteacher Steve Munday addressed the audience with a stirring account of the year’s achievements. This had been a ‘red letter’ year for the school, their ‘outstanding’ Ofsted was followed by the Year 11 students producing the best examination results in the school’s history, making William Edwards one of the country’s best all-round schools. Take into consideration its athletes’ second place in the English Championships and a new sports hall in conjunction with Badminton England and you get some idea of the sensational developments in this Thurrock school.

A real highlight was the appearance of one of the modern greats of rugby, Jamie Roberts. Jamie is a fantastic role model and motivator. A decent man, with real humility, he is not just a legend of the game but very soon will complete his training as a doctor.

Jamie Roberts first came to the fore in 2005,as Wales’ under 21 team won the Grand Slam. In that year’s autumn series he fractured his skull against Australia but came back strongly in 2009 being selected for the British Lions with that great Irishman, Brian O’Driscoll. He performed so well that he was the British Lions man of the series. Of course earlier this year he performed heroics with Wales as they reached the semi-finals of the World Cup and, had it not been for the controversial sending off of captain, Sam Warburton, could have been a World Cup winner.

The highlight of the night was when Jamie entertained the audience during his insightful interview with Ralph Henderson and presented the awards to former students.

Headteacher Steve Munday said:

“It has been another fantastic day at the school. Students have been engaged in a variety of activities and have been challenged to think about their own aspirations, inspired once again by outstanding international athletes. Perhaps the most important message is the hard work and determination needed to ensure you make the most of your talents, whatever they may be.”

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