Annie Gaskell won a host of awards at St John Fisher’s Certificate Presentation Evening while guest speaker Derek Heyes stole the show with his guide dog Archie.
It was the Class of 2019 Year 11 Leavers’ night with last year’s pupils turning up to collect their certificates and prizes.
Head Teacher Mrs Rigby praised last year’s Year 11s who, as well as academic success, excelled at drama, sport, enjoyed trips to Iceland and a Battlefields Tour and entered competitions for photography and more.
“They developed talents, skills and knowledge at St John Fisher which they can use to make a difference and make the world a better place,” said Mrs Rigby.
Annie Gaskell, who celebrated eight Grade 9s and two 8s in her GCSE’s, won the Chris O’Brien Trophy For Best Examination Results and the Special Award for Overall Contribution To The Life Of School Over Five Years, donated by Ashton Insurance Services, among other awards.
“I was shocked,” said Annie, who is now at John Rigby. “I loved my time at St John Fisher, I took part in drama and music and everything I could!”
Isobel Forshaw won the Head Teacher’s Trophy for Excellent Examination Results with two 9s, five 8s and four 7s while Annu Jose was presented with the Head Of Year Award for Outstanding GCSE Results for her two 9s, four 8s and two 7s among others.
Triathlete Charlotte Edwards won the ‘Trophy For The Whole School Award for Sport’ while England and Manchester Magic basketball star Victor Ndoukou won the same award.
James Cleary collected the ‘Trophy for Upper School Award for Performing Arts’ while Arthur Berry-Smith lifted the shield for ‘Governor’s Commendation for Outstanding Progress.’
The main inspiration of the night was former economic and history teacher at Rivington and Blackrod High School Derek Heyes, who is a quiz specialist.
Derek, born in 1950, turned blind when he was six due to an accident – a hit to the head which left him unable to see – and he then had to go to a specialist school initially in Liverpool and then Worcester College for the Blind.
He studied at Nottingham University and in Manchester before qualifying as a teacher.
“I was always competitive and I couldn’t do sport so I started quizzing and ended up with a slot on Greater Manchester Radio with ‘Beat The Brain’ where people tested me with quiz questions.
“I have also taken part in Mastermind and won The Chase.
“All my life I have had to adapt, I had to leave home at an early age due to my blindness and, when I was a teacher, I had to find ways to identify pupils which I think I did quite well. I got them to speak into a tape recorder and I learnt their voices as well as always making sure I knew the layout of anywhere I was going.
“I got my first Guide Dog in my mid-40s and I am on my fourth now, Archie. Not only does Archie help me, but he is a conversation starter. People don’t know what to say to a blind person but a dog is a way of starting a conversation and relaxes people.
“It’s about coping with adversity and always having a positive outlook as well as having good people around you.”
Thank you to everyone who came and our performers on the night who were excellent.