Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 13.02.05Former Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwick honoured the cream of academic, personal and community achievement at a glittering night for Newcastle’s Excelsior Academy.

The Wallsend-born actress – who bowed out of the ITV soap in the summer as long-running character Val Pollard – revelled in the success of Excelsior’s own star performers at its annual awards night.

She handed out dozens of honours to top performing pupils from the academy’s Collingwood, Milburn and Hadrian Schools, Excelsior College’s Sixth Form, as well as youngsters from Rainbird Primary at the event at Newcastle’s International Centre for Life.

Scores of family and friends looked on as awards were presented across all academic subjects, as well as silverware for personal achievement, performance, ambassadorial skills and community work. The musical and dramatic arts talents of pupils were centre stage at the evening with a series of performances.

 And to cap off a night of success, Excelsior Academy Executive Principal Phil Marshall announced the special awards winners recognised for their exceptional contribution to academia and school life.

Charlie said: “I’m bowled over by Excelsior Academy and the way you are with each other.

“My experience of school was quite different. When I visited Excelsior and saw the art, drama and music, I was bowled over.

“It was my dream in life that I’d become an artist. But the staff at my school didn’t have much ambition for us and we didn’t have much ambition for ourselves.

“You should all feel proud of your achievements. Shine as bright as you can, don’t be deterred and carry on working hard at this marvellous school.”

A chance visit to a local drama club and ‘O’ Level success at Newcastle College set Charlie on her road to stardom.

Excelsior Academy Executive Principal Phil Marshall said: “The awards are an evening where we celebrate our exceptional achievements as one academy.

“All the youngsters who have won awards have been chosen as particularly deserving across the academy.

“While it is about academic achievement and performance, is also about effort, progress, reaching personal targets, school attendance and the contribution our pupils make to school life.”

The special award winners on the night were:

Dennis Adusei – Tony Pattison Award for Contribution to the Community

Dzikamai Mudamburi – Howarth Litchfield Award for Contribution to Design

Amr Abdelaziz – Gaia Technologies Award for IT Excellence

James Rose – Surgo Construction Award

Lucia Horvatova – Geoff Younger Award

Syed Rahman – Michael Sehgal Award

Lara Garratt, Lucy Todd, Sarah Lamb – Chris Woodhead Award

Rozan Mahdi – Governors Award

Jamie Wood – Chair of Governors Award

Craig Prudhoe – Executive Principal Award

Damon Dornan – Lord Laidlaw Award