Surging Ahead At Awards Ceremony
3 July 2019
Student achievement across the academic year was marked in style at Stoke Damerel Community College at the annual Awards Ceremony on 2 July.
The theme for this year was Surging Ahead and the guest speaker was Lee Spencer – the Rowing Marine.
After coming through three operational tours of Afghanistan unscathed, Lee lost his right leg after being hit by flying debris as he was helping a motorist who had crashed into the central reservation of the M3 in Surrey in 2014. In 2015 Lee set-off in a team to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in just a rowing boat - the Row-to-Recovery team consisted of four injured veterans with just three legs between them. In February 2016, some 46 days, 6 hours and 49 minutes later the team rowed into land as the first British military all-amputee team of four to row an ocean.
Following this, Lee completed his biggest challenge yet, becoming the world’s first physically disabled person to row solo from mainland Europe to mainland South America.
He presented a variety of awards to students in front of a packed assembly hall, filled with family and friends.
“What I wanted students to take on board was that, although there's a little bit less of me now, I am still the same person,' said Lee Spencer.
“I wanted them to understand that learning to fail is key to succeeding, the trick is to have a dream.
“Thank you to Stoke Damerel for asking me to speak – I had a wonderful evening.”
Awards given to students included the Roma French Award, given to a student who has overcome adversity, this year awarded to Year 11 student Adam and the Principal’s Award presented to Kosovare, also in Year 11, for her “commitment to representing the College at every opportunity”.
For the first time a member of staff also received an award – teaching assistant Mr Martin who has achieved so much as part of Help for Heroes and for his participation in last year's Invictus Games.
“Receiving such a lovely accolade from the College was shocking,” said Mr Martin.
“Actually having it handed to me by a personal hero was mind-blowing.”
As well as the awards there were a number of musical performances from students as well as poetry readings.
“The event was a chance to celebrate our students’ achievements in and outside the classroom and is a highlight of the calendar in the summer term,” said executive principal Miss Frier.
“It’s always a wonderful opportunity to recognise students throughout the College for their progress and commitment, and we were all treated to an amazing inspirational personal story from Lee Spencer, who inspired and entertained us all.”