Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield was the venue for Woodham Academy’s prestigious Sports Academy Awards Evening.
An audience of almost 200 students and their parents were entertained by guest speaker, Ben Heason.
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Ben is a professional rock climber who has spent his lifetime climbing the world’s highest mountains.
By the age of 13 he had climbed the highest mountains in Morocco, Greece and Thailand and had been to 16,000 feet in the Himalayas.
In 2005 Ben was a lead climber on the international team who made the much heralded first free-climbed ascent of the main wall of Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world.
His account of how he managed to climb 3212 feet, eating and sleeping whilst attached to the sheer rock face, amazed everyone. His message of “Go do it, don’t just try” was an inspiration.
The 192 members of Woodham’s Sports Academy, which includes dance, gymnastics, football, cricket, softball, American Football, table tennis, swimming and basketball, were all awarded certificates of achievement.
There were four special awards. The Individual Achievement Award was won by Calvin Beaton. Calvin, a talented gymnast, has taken a lead role as a coach, helping to develop boys’ gymnastics. As Calvin is currently working at Camp Cody in the USA, taking part in the Academy’s Sports Leadership programme, his award was presented by Mr Ketch at Camp Cody and filmed for the occasion.
Team of the Year was awarded to the Woodham Warriors. In the past 18 months, the Warriors have twice been National Finalists and have competed internationally in the US Armed services Dodds League. They are currently unbeaten this season with a record of nine wins in nine games. What sets the Warriors apart from every other American Football team in the country is that they are the only school team, having to pick from students aged 14-16 instead of selecting from a whole county and players aged 14-18.
Young Performer of the Year went to Lauren Towell who is part of the dance and gymnastics academy. Lauren has been involved in all the gymnastics competitions throughout the year. She was also part of the team that represented the north at the national floor and vault finals.
The nominees for the award of Woodham Sports Academy Performer of the Year 2013 were all athletes who excel at regional or national level in their chosen sports. The winner was Victoria Archer, a member of both Woodham Dance Academy and Woodham Gymnastics Academy. She was part of the team which competed in the national finals earlier this year. As well as being an outstanding athlete in her own right, Victoria has also coached Year 7 and 8 gymnastics during her lunchtimes.
Woodham Sports Academy Director Liam Clough said: “This was a wonderful evening, celebrating the achievement of our most talented athletes. Not only are they successful in their chosen sport, but their academic progress, attendance and effort in their studies are also excellent. We are very proud of their achievement this year.”
Woodham Sports Academy will introduce two additional sports, handball and water polo for September. The provision for dance, gymnastics, basketball and football will also be extended to meet demand. 2013-14 looks set to be an even better year for Woodham Sports Academy.