Thurrock’s incredible young people recognised by Jack Petchey Foundation

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INCREDIBLE young people from across Thurrock came together to receive prestigious Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Awards presented at the Civic Hall in Thurrock on Thursday 27th February.

The event honoured Achievement Award winners aged 11-25 who received medallions to go with their framed certificate and a cheque for £250 each, already presented. They were nominated by their peers and leaders, winning awards for a variety of achievements big and small but always for doing their best.

In addition, five 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.

Thurrock have received funding of £1,400,000 from the Jack Petchey Foundation since funding started in 2001.

Deputy Mayor of Thurrock, Councillor Sue Shinnick said: “It has been a wonderful evening and you can’t help but feel inspired by all these young people and what they have achieved.”

Sammie England, aged 18, who attends Seevic Palmers College.

Sammie received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because of her commitment as a college representative and a member of the Student Union. She has taken on the responsibility of the LGBTQ+ group which is now growing in student attendance, and volunteers at every opportunity. Sammie shows outstanding commitment to extra-curricular activities and strives to represent student views at every available forum without fail.

Sammie decided to spend her £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on a mobile phone locker for the college.

Sammie said: “As a trans girl I often think people judge me very negatively. This award has proven that people accept me for who I am.”

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Winners included Michael Onologbo, aged 15, who attends Gable Hall School.

Michael received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because he placed in the top five in the country at the English Championships for Under 17 Men’s 100m. He also gained a new personal best at this competition – 10.9 seconds! Michael is an extremely talented athlete and is described as ‘a force to behold’ on the track. He also represents his school and Essex in this discipline.

Michael decided to spend his £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on athletics equipment.

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Neda Rudzionyte, aged 13, who attends The Hathaway Academy.

Neda received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because she won three silver medals at a recent swimming competition. They were for 200 metres breaststroke, 100 metres breaststroke, and 50m backstroke. She attends swimming practise almost every day, meaning she arrives at the pool at five o’clock in the morning. Neda has shown dedication to her sport and this is also reflected in everything she does both in and out of school. She is also commended for the professionalism she demonstrates within the Hathaway Academy Student Leadership Team.

Neda decided to spend her £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on equipment for the sports department.

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Franki King, aged 17, who attends Ortu Stanford and Corringham Sixth Form.

Franki received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because she is an exceptional ballroom and Latin dancer and recently won the Under 35s National Latin Championship in Blackpool. She has utilised her talent to choreograph a production of Hairspray at a local secondary school. As well as that, Franki always goes above and beyond to support her sixth form’s charitable fundraising, such as the annual shoebox appeal.

Franki decided to spend her £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on resources to make the outside space at the sixth form centre more appealing.

Franki said: “I believed I could…I would…and I did!”

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Lilie Copperthwaite, aged 14, who attends St Clere’s School.

Lilie received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because she fought for and won the ICO world kick-boxing title belt recently. She won in unanimous decision over five rounds of full contact kickboxing – a massive achievement! Lilie juggles the demands of her education with training every day for two hours (including hill sprints!).

Lilie decided to spend her £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on equipment for the school’s PE department.

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Lukas Baranaukas, aged 14, who attends Ormiston Park Academy.

Lukas received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because of his recent promotion in the school cadets to Lance Corporal. He always volunteers to support staff too, by giving up his free time to help out with any events in the school such as parents evenings and open days. Lukas is described as a model student and a credit to the school.

Lukas decided to spend his £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on a trip to Stubbers Outdoor Adventure Centre with his peers.

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Andrei Chivulescu, aged 12, who attends The Ockendon Academy.

Andrei received a Jack Petchey Achievement Award because of he is a member of MENSA as his IQ is within the first 0.01% of the UK Population. To find this out, Andrei had to complete a number of written tests, and on the first he scored 100%. Each test took up to three hours, and he completed some at the age of six!

Andrei decided to spend his £250 Jack Petchey Achievement Award grant on science equipment for the Academy.

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Sir Jack founded the Jack Petchey Foundation in 1999 to recognise the positive contributions young people make to society and to support them in achieving their potential. Since then it has provided support to a wide range of 2,000 initiatives supporting young people across London and Essex and has invested over £124m.

Sir Jack Petchey CBE aged 94, said: “I am passionate about our awards scheme which enables young people to be recognised, valued and rewarded for their achievements and positive contributions to society.”

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