Thurrock students praised as "Pride of the borough" at Jack Petchey Awards

NINETY-SEVEN young people from 14 senior schools in Thurrock came together to receive prestigious Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Awards presented at Civic Hall.

The event honoured Achievement Award winners aged 11 to 25 who received medallions to go with their framed certificate and a cheque for £200. They were nominated by their peers and leaders, winning awards for a variety of achievements big and small but always for doing their best.

Eight adults were also celebrated with Leader Awards who have demonstrated, in an outstanding way, an ability to motivate young people. They received a medallion and a framed certificate.

Youth organisations in Thurrock have received funding of £1,176,564 from the Jack Petchey Foundation since funding started in 2001.

Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Gray said: “I am very proud of all the young people receiving awards here. Young people often get bad press but every one of these winners have been inspirational and have shown that you can do it!”

Sergeant Rob Thompson of Essex police said: “The young people receiving awards here are truly inspirational. It is evident that these awards provide the young people with the tools to achieve exceptional things.”

Winners included Emily Marinkovic, 16 from Gateway Learning Community. Emily worked on a project to conserve water through which she developed a water saving toothbrush named the H2ooth Brush and was the runner-up in a local competition. Not only is she devoted to this, she is a member of the student leadership driving a mental wellness project as well as maintaining A grades in all subject areas.

Emily did her English GCSE early and decided to use the £200 award from the Jack Petchey Foundation to take students to see ‘Of Mice and Men’ in preparation for their English Literature exam and as a reward for her group.

Aaron Gurling, 13, goes to Hathaway Academy. Aaron tirelessly fundraises for Great Ormond Street Hospital where he has spent a lot of time having operations and procedures himself. In addition he supports a Year 7 student who also suffers from a similar medical condition. Aaron wants his £200 award money to go towards a laptop for Science.

Nathan Booty, 15 attends Harris Academy Chafford Hundred. He recently helped a vulnerable Year 7 student who was injured to get home safely. Nathan noticed that the student was considerably upset and agitated while walking home from school. He acted with compassion and maturity to bring the student back to school and waited with him until his safe departure could be guaranteed.

Nathan has spent his award on new kits for the PE Department. He wanted to contribute towards kits for the football and the basketball teams, so the money was split between the two

Patrick Calvento, 17, goes to Palmer’s College. Patrick has worked so hard in the voluntary sector he was recently nominated for a “Volunteer of the Year” award. He is going to study adult nursing at university and will spend every Saturday volunteering at a home for people with dementia.

Patrick will use his award to buy advertising boards for the Voluntary Service Department to encourage others to volunteer.

Leeza Hameed, 16, attends Grays Convent High School. Leeza is an Assistant Head Girl and Vice-Captain of her Form Group. She is a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society and gives up her lunchtimes to visit a home for the elderly. She is always available to help the new Year 7 pupils and is heavily involved in the school’s charity events.

Leeza chose to spend her award on equipment for the Science Department and a contribution towards an educational visit to Flatford Mill in Suffolk.

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