A teenager, who moved to North Wales from Romania just three years ago with her parents, has been handed an award by Britain’s top hurdler.
Cristina Costea was named as the winner of the Val Cleaton Award for Excellence at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan’s glittering annual award ceremony at a packed Rhyl Pavilion.
The honours were handed out by Team GB 110m hurdler and TV Gladiators star Will Sharman, after spending the day working with pupils at the Abergele school during PE lessons.
Bethan Owen, who runs a karate school in her spare time, was the joint winner of the Rotary Award. The 14-year-old from Bodelwyddan was joined on staged by Sadie Wagstaff, who was honoured for her hard-work and efforts as a volunteer. Alex Dry, 16, from Abergele, picked up the Head Teacher’s Award for his continued hard work.
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan deputy head teacher Sue Nichols said all four winners richly deserved their successes.
She said: “The school awards are presented to learners who go that extra mile to ensuring the school and the communities in which they live continue to improve.
“Val Cleaton was a very special teacher who passed away, whilst still in service at our school in 2004. Val was very vivacious, committed and enthusiastic, as is Cristina.
“Cristina deserves the award for her ongoing hard work and the meticulous nature of the work she produces. She takes great pride in her work in terms of both content and presentation.
“She always gives of her best and goes way beyond what is expected of her. She gained an A* grade in GCSE French at the end of Year 9.
“Cristina characterises all the qualities that we aim for in our learners – hard work, dedication, trying her absolute personal best whilst always being polite, considerate and thoughtful.”
Cristina said she was amazed to have won the Val Cleaton Award and wasn’t sure at first whom the deputy head was talking about on the Rhyl Pavilion stage, until she heard her name announced.
The 14-year-old from Bodelwyddan said: “Everyone looked at me and I was a little embarrassed to be honest but very pleased. And my parents are very proud of me.
“I came to Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan after moving to North Wales from Ordea in my native Romania three years ago. Both my parents are doctors.
“I have really enjoyed being at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan and my ambition is to go to university, although I’m not sure yet what career I want to pursue.”
Mrs Nichols also praised the other award winners.
She said: “Sadie is a hard-working and conscientious learner who applies herself fully to school life. She volunteers to take part in a range of activities within school and is always willing and helpful.
“She has contributed greatly to the sense of community in our school and has played an active role in school productions, playing the lead role on more than one occasion.
“In addition, she is a keen dancer out of school. However, she never allows her wider participation to impact on her schoolwork and always gives 100% to everything she does.”
Sue Nichols says Bethan, who is also a carer, launched her own karate academy to help others deal with the everyday stresses of life.
She said: “Bethan is a qualified karate instructor and started BKA – Bethan’s Karate Academy – in Rhyl. The academy is a not-for-profit venture and any money she makes goes straight back into community and the club.
“Bethan has done all this while continuing to fully apply herself at school. She is a remarkable young lady who richly deserves her success.”
Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan head teacher Lee Cummins said his award went to Alex Dry in recognition of his continued hard work.
He said: “Alex achieved the award as he represents all the characteristics we would expect from a learner in terms of his commitment to the school’s motto, ‘Dare to Achieve’.
“He led the way when it came to academic success with his GCSE results and he is the first student of the school to win an individual Society of Biology Challenge Award.”
He added: “He thoroughly deserves his success which he has achieved through sheer hard work and dedication.”
Alex, who passed his GCSE’s with six A*s and four As, plus a C in Welsh, said winning the Head Teacher’s Award came as a big surprise.
He said: “I was really pleased. You sort of hope it’s going to be you who gets an award but when your name is called out, you are still surprised. It was a fantastic evening, which I enjoyed a great deal.”
Karate black belt Bethan said she was also shocked when she heard her name called out and was very surprised, but delighted, to have jointly won the Rotary Award.
She said: “I’m really pleased. My karate school has 30 students and I’m qualified as an instructor. My dad helps me out too. I have some students who have ADHD as well as other issues, so it’s a good learning curve for me too.
“My ambition is to work in karate in the future. All the money we raise through my academy goes back into the club or the wider community.”
Sadie was also delighted to have been named the joint winner of the Rotary Award.
The 15-year-old from Kinmel Bay said: “It’s a real honour and I’m really pleased. I enjoy being involved in school productions and I try and volunteer to help out at school as much as I can.
“I enjoy mentoring new pupils and really enjoy being at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan. We get great support from the teachers and it’s good to try and give a bit back.
“My ambition is to work in performing arts eventually so being in school productions, as well as drama and dance clubs outside of school, is good grounding.”