Parents and members of the community joined the pupils and staff at Risedale School in celebrating a year of achievements at the school’s annual presentation evening.
The school hall was transformed with balloons and floral arrangements in the school colours for the event.
Awards were presented by James Yates, deputy headteacher, and lead senior pupil ambassador, Ava Gleave-Jackson, and entertainment included musical performances from Grace Baker and Georgie Robertson accompanied by Mr Higham on piano.
The awards recognised both the academic achievements and the contributions to the community that have been made by Risedale School pupils throughout the year.
Current pupils and Risedale School alumni received awards for outstanding performances in core subjects such as English and maths as well as vocational subjects, demonstrating the impressive range of subjects that shape the curriculum at Risedale.
Pupil intake has increased at Risedale School, allowing for the curriculum to be expanded which in turn has offered young people at the school a broader range of subject paths.
Colin Scott, headteacher, said: “I started at the school in 2016. In my first year we had 412 children, we have now got exactly 600, so in the space of five years, we have grown by 50 per cent.
“I like to think that is because the community is really starting to believe in what Risedale has got to offer.
“The kids are great, the staff are great, and I have been able to put a lot more on the timetable as a result.”
Among the recipients was Matilda Melody, previously the school’s lead senior pupil ambassador.
Matilda presented last year’s awards alongside fellow award winner Kingsley Green.
Matilda returned to attend the awards at Risedale school after starting college at Queen Elizabeth sixth form college in Darlington recently and said: “I am so happy to be back, I have such good memories of this school; I just love it!”
Matilda was able to meet with the new lead senior pupil ambassador, Ava during the ceremony who has since picked up the mantle of the role.
She said: “The new lead ambassador [Ava] came over and said I need your advice on something and it just makes me so proud and it’s so sweet to know that they want that advice.”
Like many of the recipients on the evening, Matilda was a multi-award winner receiving three awards at the presentation including the Soroptomist Cup awarded for her contribution to the school community.
Margaret Clayson and Barbara Hunt of the Sorpotomist Society were in attendance to see the award presented and shared the importance of recognising not just the academic performance of girls at Risedale School, but also the positive impact they have made.
Margaret said: “If there is a girl who has gone beyond the call of duty to do something for her school, her friends or her family, she is awarded this cup.”
Alongside academic awards pupils were also recognised for sporting achievements.
Grace Hall-Twist, goalkeeper and captain of the Risedale School girls’ football team shared how her passion for the sport led to her receiving the Key Stage 3 award for girls PE.
She said: “I like the practical side of PE; I am always athletic and I’m in the school’s girls’ football team.
“I have played football all my life and went to see the [England women’s team] finals at Wembley.”
Following the awards, Mr Yates, the host for the evening, reflected on the confidence of the pupils receiving awards and said: “Our whole curriculum is built on the 5 pillars that include resilience, confidence and being yourself.”
The importance of being yourself is one that is modelled by pupils and staff alike with Mr Scott being one of the first openly gay headteachers of a state secondary school.
Mr Yates explained: “The staff themselves are not robots, they are themselves.”
“Mr Scott himself, during the assembly where he came out to the audience, showed how you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself.
“Because pupils see this, it gives them the confidence to also be themselves.”