AN inspirational student has been recognised for his resilience after a two-year battle with leukaemia.
Dylan Westgarth was awarded the coveted Tom Brown Award for embodying the ethos of St Michael’s Catholic Academy in Billingham.
Two years ago the teenager was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukaemia for which he is still undergoing chemotherapy.
Despite missing a year of school he managed to gain six GCSEs and a Btec and is now studying a public services qualification at Bede 6th Form College with the aim of training to be a police dog handler.
The Tom Brown Award, named in honour of former pupil Tom Brown, 16, who was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in April 2013, is presented every year recognising courage over adversity. Tom’s parents Jaz and Chris attended the ceremony. Jaz said: “This could not have gone to a more worthy recipient and I am sure Tom is looking after Dylan.”
Dylan, a scout leader and police cadet, added: “I was so surprised; I had no idea I was going to get this award but it feels really good.”
“I have always wanted to join the police and am due to ring the bell – marking the end of my treatment – at about the same time as I am due to complete my public services course.”
The award was one of a host of accolades presented to the leavers of 2019 in a ceremony co-ordinated by Assistant Principal Claire Carey and hosted by Assistant Principal Marc Scott and Pastoral Learning Manager of Year 11 Andrew Briggs.
Chief executive officer of Carmel Education Trust Maura Regan and St Michael’s Chair of Governors Mary Toth presented each graduating student with a Destiny Star, as well as subject and special awards.
The Good Shepherd Award, recognising personal achievement, went to Brooke Godfrey, while the Archangel Award, for embodying the Academy’s vision, was presented to Sarah Keay and the most prestigious award of the evening the St Michael’s Award for going above and beyond the Academy’s core values, went to Head Boy Gareth Drysdale.
Ms Regan told staff, students, families and friends: “Young people are a powerful force to change the world. We are proud of what our young people have achieved and I hope you are too because this is a moment to be proud of.
“Moving forward, dare to be the best you can be and if you make great lives for yourselves then we will have done a good job as teachers and you will have done a fantastic job as parents.”
Edna Early Award for Worship: Louis Harper
Trevor Gaynor Award: Jordan Casey
Martin Wing Award for Music: Rhys Donnelly
Johnson Matthey Award for Chemistry: Gareth Drysdale
Lew Milburn Award: Jayne Donohoe
Maureen Jamieson Award: Aimee Pitelen
SRC Bede College Award: Megan Sharkey
Stockton Sixth Form Award: Max Devlin
SVP Award: Jude Blackmore
Peter Robinson Award: Elin Gittus
Alan Parker Award: Harry Gunston
David Armstrong Award for Contribution to School Life: Aaron Cardoza
Mandy Bell Award: Sinead Gatley-Harper
Shaun Lowery Award: Dan Kelsey
Nicholas Welch Trophy: Erin Donnelly
Griffin Shield: Harry Race
Heenan Shield: Max McLean
Wiseman Shield: Matthew Owen
Vaughan Shield: Chloe Howe
Hinsley Scott Award: Niamh Roddy
Pastoral Award: James Garbarino, Ava Connor, Annabelle Harrison, Josh Hayes, Zoe Hood, Melody Jones, Dylan Snelling, Michael Taylor, Libby Walker
Carmel Education Trust Achievement & Adversity Award: Darcy Woodward, Jack Ross, Szakera Las
Carmel Education Trust Exceptional Service: George Walker
Carmel Education Trust Exceptional Merit: Millie Young, Katherine Reed, Clayton Long, Demi Fretter, Elisa Cartwright, Erin Flynn
Carmel Educational Trust Exceptional Dedication: Madeleine Blackham, Patrick Dybell
Carmel Educational Trust Shield of Exceptional Attainment: Niamh Kernan, Liam Collins
The Archangel Award for Ethos: Sarah Keay
Carmel Educational Trust Distinction Award for achieving one or more Grade 9:
James Binns Madeleine Blackham Jude Blackmore
Amy Blakemore Max Brodie Elisa Cartwright
Erin Donnelly Rhys Donnelly Jayne Donohoe
Gareth Drysdale Patrick Dybell Erin Flynn
Elin Gittus Harry Gunston Niamh Kernan
Sarah Keay Megan Sharkey Scarlett Spence
The Good Shepherd Award: Brooke Godfrey
Tom Brown Award: Dylan Westgarth
St Michael’s Award: Gareth Drysdale