From a five-year-old who has become a star pupil in spite of battling a rare cancer , to an outstanding college manager, Suffolk has recognised those who excel in education.
Suffolk County Council’s Raising the Bar Awards winners were announced on Sunday from hundreds of nominations, which included education professionals, support staff, governors, non-executives and young people.
Among the West Suffolk winners is Sarah Waller from Barnham Primary School, chosen as the Early Years Rising Star of the Year.
Sarah, five, was born prematurely, then at the age of two was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, an uncommon cancer of the liver. Surgery and intensive chemotherapy meant she started school behind her peers.
Her class teacher Marie Rogers said: “She came into school with so many challenges and was a very quiet girl at first.
“She has developed many friendships and she’s an amazing little girl, very determined.”
The secondary Rising Star is Rhys Turnbull, 15, from Bury St Edmund’s Priory School.
Rhys had been struggling socially and academically, but his life changed when he was asked to represent the school in athletics. He has now represented his school and the Eastern region in several sports.
His head teacher Lawrence Chapman said: “He has been recognised for his hard work and commitment. It’s all the training he puts in while not letting his school work slip.”
The Unsung Hero Award went to teacher Lorraine Welham at Stowmarket High School. She was nominated for her voluntary role supporting young people who take on a caring role within the home.
Her nomination said: “She strives to make a difference, listens to what young peoples’ wants and needs are and ensures that she always finds some way to support them.”
Derek Johnson, who manages Art and Design Courses at West Suffolk College, took the Excellence in Middle Leadership Award. His nomination said: “Derek shows creativity and innovation and is focussed upon the achievement of his students.”
But he said: “I have a fantastic team who really strive to provide outstanding and inspiring education to all.”
A list of all finalists and winners is at http://rtbawards.com/winners-2015