Rastrick High School has been praised by global sporting icons David Beckham and Jessica Ennis-Hill as they won the Sky Sports Living for Sport Project of the Year Award.
Shown live on Game Changers student Frankie Howarth was also honoured as a finalist in the Student of the Year Award.
PE teacher Dean Watson and students from his project group were presented with a trophy by David and Jessica in a special one-off episode hosted by Darren Campbell and Di Dougherty.
Reflecting on the success stories highlighted at this year’s Awards, David Beckham comments: “It was a privilege to be able to give Rastrick High School and Frankie their awards today and celebrate their inspirational stories on what really was an incredible day.
“It was an honour to meet so many other outstanding teachers, students and Athlete Mentors too. They are shining examples of what Sky Sports Living for Sport is all about and demonstrate the power that sport can have in helping young people believe in themselves and reach their full potential.”
Scooping the coveted Project of the Year Award, Mr Watson led a group of pupils who took part in Sky Sports Living for Sport, a secondary schools initiative delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust.
Rastrick High School was selected for the shortlist after an innovative choice of Aussie Rules Football for a Sky Sports Living For Sport project saw remarkable results as students not only fell in love with a new sport but made incredible strides in English lessons at the same time.
Meanwhile in the Student of the Year Award won by Bethan Gill of Samuel Cody Specialist Sports College, Farnborough, Frankie was chosen as a finalist for the remarkable progress he has made during the course of the project – and also received a trophy from David and Jessica.
Before taking part in the project Frankie had under-achieved academically and had more than 100 behaviour incidents logged against him; but as his confidence and self-esteem grew through participation in a new sport, his entire outlook changed. Not only have his grades improved dramatically but he has grown as a person – leading Aussie Rules taster sessions for younger pupils and even speaking in front of 60 students, something he would never have done before.
Jessica Ennis-Hill added: “Congratulations to all the winners and finalists; you really did show why Sky Sports Living for Sport can be such a life-changing initiative.
“I hope that these Awards will leave us all more inspired than ever that sport has the power to make a huge difference to young people’s lives; not just on the field or on the track but in every area of life.”