STUDENTS who have helped a Teesside academy progress in leaps and bounds have been honoured by an Olympic long jumper.

Team GB star Chris Tomlinson presented a raft of trophies, shields, plaques, cups and certificates to students at St Michael’s Academy, Billingham, at a special awards ceremony to reward effort and achievement.

The 6ft 6in, 37-year-old, Middlesbrough-born long-jumper competed in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and held the British long jump record of 8.35m until 2014. He told students that with continued hard work they all had the opportunity to succeed in whatever path they chose.

“Do whatever you want to do in life, just make sure that you give everything, 100 per cent all of the time, so you never look back with any regrets,” he said.

The glittering ceremony, attended by parents, carers, teachers, governors and directors of The Carmel Education Trust, saw returning GCSE pupils acknowledged for their accomplishments in a host of subject areas alongside awards for positive attitude, behaviour, resilience, determination, attendance, leadership, spirit, kindness and outstanding conduct.

Welcoming back the former Year 11 students head teacher Andrew Ramsey said: “This year group helped our school’s attainment grow for the third year in succession with our students gaining an incredible 53 GCSE grade 9s.”

Trophies and cups were presented for subject and special awards including academic excellence, strength and character, outstanding GCSE results, sport, music, courage and contribution to school life, by chair of governors Mary Toth and guest of honour Mr Tomlinson.

Each graduating student was also presented with a Destiny Star from head of year Claire Carey alongside individual Year 11 form tutors.

The academy’s celebrated Tom Brown Award, named in honour of former pupil Tom Brown, 16, who was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in April 2013, recognising courage over adversity, was presented to student Kye Mckenzie.

Kye, 16, of Billingham, who has secured a welding apprenticeship with NETA, Stockton, said: “I was always getting into serious trouble at school and didn’t really apply myself to my studies.

“My girlfriend told me that it was time I grew up, act my age and work harder so at the start of Year 11 I really put my head down and with help from teachers started to study hard for my GCSEs.”

The overall trophy, The St Michael’s Award, for the student that best embodied the ethos of the academy, was awarded to Theo Collard-Gentle.

The 16-year-old, of Norton, achieved six grade 9s in his GCSE results and is now studying maths, physics and Spanish.

“It is really nice to be recognised with The St Michael’s Award,” said Theo.

Twins Isobel and Maisie Pritchard, who secured four 9s between them, were among 24 students who also achieved one or more of the top grade marks presented with the Carmel Education Trust Distinction Award.

The 16-year olds are currently studying biology, chemistry and maths and hope to pursue careers in dentistry.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by singer and former student Niamh Casey-Burnett singing Pure Imagination, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong and You’ll Never Walk Alone, by Gerry and the Pacemakers, accompanied by accomplished pianist Mr Ramsey.


Subject awards
History: Caoimhe Ronan Wilson
Textiles: Emma Weedall
Food: Francesca Porritt
Graphics: Nathan Carroll
Resistant Materials: Tegan Russell
Art: Heidi McLone
Computing: Jack Riley
Maths: Joseph Foster
Physics: Nathan Carroll
Biology: Laura McCluskey
RE: Amelia Sayer
Geography: Annie Bittlestone
Music: Annie Hamilton
English Literature: Maria Figzal
English Language: Nathan McKenzie-King
German: Caoimhe Ronan Wilson
Spanish: Theo Collard-Gentle
Health & Social Care: Chloe Hutchinson
Combined Science: Taylor Gardiner

Special Awards
Edna Early Award for Worship: Olivia Allison
Trevor Gaynor Award:  Lucy Patterson
Martin Wing Award for Music: Olivia Allison
Johnson Matthey Award for Chemistry: Isobel Pritchard
Lew Milburn Award: Alfie Burns
Maureen Jamieson Award: Leanne Spowart
SRC Bede College Award: Emily Moon
Stockton Sixth Form Award: Joseph Lawrence
SVP Award: Florence Quinn
Peter Robinson Award: Maisie Pritchard
Alan Parker Award: Maria Figzal
David Armstrong Award for Contribution to School Life: Nathan Carroll
Mandy Bell Award: Jessica Sharkey
Shaun Lowrey Award: Alfie Burns
Nicholas Welch Trophy: Laura McClusky
Griffin Shield: Millie Lawrence
Heenan Shield: Imogen Guest
Wiseman Shield: Stuart Mulloy
Vaughan Shield: Joseph Garbutt
Hinsley Scott Award: Harvey Simpson
Pastoral Award: Kerrice Dicken, Samuel Cumiskey
Carmel Education Trust Achievement & Adversity Award: Joseph Foster
Carmel Education Trust Exceptional Service: Samuel Lavender
Carmel Education Trust Exceptional Merit: Lauren Cammiss
Carmel Educational Trust Exceptional Dedication: Florence Quinn, Justin Foad
Carmel Educational Trust Shield of Exceptional Attainment: Lawrence Jones
The Archangel Award for Ethos: Joseph Wicks
Carmel Educational Trust Distinction Award: Alexander Ashman, Annie Bittlestone, Adam Browne, Alfie Burns, Nathan Carroll, Theo Collard-Gentle, Thomas Farnaby
Thomas Finlay, Joseph Foster, Lawrence Jones, Laura McCluskey, Emily Moon, Isobel Pritchard, Maisie Pritchard, Evie Ptohopoulos, Max Rafferty, Lewis Reed, Jack Riley
Caoimhe Ronan Wilson, Holly Sinclair, Casey Swash, Alfie Turnbull, Marc Ward-Skilbeck, Kate Weatherill
The Good Shepherd Award: Grace Hunter
Tom Brown Award: Kye McKenzie
St Michael’s Award: Theo Collard-Gentle