Ipswich Town captain, England star Jimmy Anderson, Helen Glover and Beth Tweddle among sports stars who make Stowmarket High School's virtual PE awards a big hit
Stowmarket High School pupils’ disappointment at not being able to complete and celebrate their sporting campaigns together was quickly forgotten when a host of the country’s top sports stars got involved in their virtual PE sports awards.
England cricket team’s record-breaking fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, two-time Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover and golden gymnast Beth Tweddle were among those to announce award winners on videos via the school’s Instagram account.
Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers, record-breaking wheelchair racer Hannah Cockcroft and former England and GB hockey star Alex Danson also delivered category winners along with BBC Sport presenter Gabby Logan and Winter Olympics skeleton champion-turned presenter Amy Williams.
There was also video messages from tennis’ Jamie Murray, winter paralympian Charlotte Evans, former sprinter Katharine Merry, GB gymnastics star Christian Thomas, Ipswich footballer Kayden Jackson and Newmarket-raised Olympic bronze medal-winning javelin thrower Goldie Sayers.
David Wise, who along with fellow PE teacher Jess Howland contacted the sports stars mainly via their Instagram accounts, said: “I couldn’t believe the response we had from so many amazing athletes and hopefully it has helped us to stay connected with our fantastic sporting students whilst our school is closed.”
He explained they usually have a guest speaker to present the awards which is where the idea had emanated from. This year’s guest was meant to be GB U23 steeplechase star Emily Moyes, who is a former Stowmarket High School pupil.
Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan said: “The lockdown has presented every school with significant challenges, and how to celebrate student success just one of them. I am so fortunate to have a PE team who take this challenge and meet it with such ambition and imagination.”
Every day throughout last week, the PE department used its Instagram account to release three videos at pre-set timed intervals of top sport stars presenting awards to students who have shown great commitment to sports teams and sports studies during the past year.
Of the reaction it drew, Wise said: “It has been absolutely brilliant.
“We had had a lot of responses and people were blown away by the calibre of athletes.
“Some of the parents of the winners came back to say how much it means to them and that they have said they will keep the videos forever.”
The full list of winners was:
Most improved student- Angel Calabio; Sports leader of the year- Sam Manning; PE student of the year- Louis Blanchard; Year 7 SPOTY- Theo Ling & Milly Healy; Year 8 SPOTY- Adrian Andreev & Evie McKane; Year 9 SPOTY- Oli Lucas & Maddie Chenery; Year 10 SPOTY- Tom Williams & Megan Mills; Year 11 SPOTY- Billy Mullenger & Lauren Hammond; Headteacher’s Award- Millie & Maddie Jordan-Lee.
Wise said their collective sporting achievements during the shortened 2020 season included all four handball teams showing a lot of promise of further progression after making it through to the county finals. Meanwhile, their Year 9 netball team also made it through to the county finals and narrowly missed out on winning it, finishing as the top performing state school.