The awards were introduced by Chairwoman of the Youth Sport Trust and UK Sport, Baroness Sue Campbell, and Sky Sports Living for Sport Ambassador, Darren Campbell MBE. Before the ceremony they answered questions on the importance of school sport posed by Sky Sports News presenter, Jon Davies. Baroness Sue Campbell and Darren Campbell commented on the importance of school sport and its value for young people, highlighting how sport can help students develop the life and social skills essential for a bright and successful future. Sky Sports Living for Sport aims to enhance these aspects of school sport and encourage young people of all ages to interact and engage with sport.
Each of the 12 regional winners had their own moment in the spotlight. An award was presented to the finalists whilst their own personal video clip played out in the background, highlighting the work they have done and the journey each of them had taken to get to where they are today. Everyone in the room felt truly touched by the inspiring stories and sheer heart and determination of these gifted young people.
The finalist trophy presentations were interlinked with interviews given by Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentors on their own sporting experiences. In attendance were former Welsh rugby union star Chris Horsman, world bobsleigh champion Nicola Minichiello, Olympic silver medal winning badminton player Gail Emms and former world champion BMX biker Mike Mullen. During the interval, Mike Mullen’s team of BMX stars, ‘Team Extreme’, put on a breathtaking display of tricks and the finalists were also treated to a tour of Lords Cricket Ground.
Conor Fitzpatrick of Newbattle Community High School in Dalkeith, Midlothian, was awarded the title of UK Sky Sports Living for Sport Student of the Year 2010. He received the accolade after being named Scotland’s Student of the Year in a series of UK wide regional semi-finals.
With nominations rolling in from schools across the UK, Conor stood out as a clear winner. His story demonstrated how Sky Sports Living for Sport, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, has helped Conor apply lessons learnt through sport to situations in school and everyday life.
Making full use of www.skysports.com/livingforsport, Newbattle Community High School encouraged pupils, including Conor, to select a sport they did not feel comfortable with in order to step out of their comfort zone and face a new challenge. For Conor, this was basketball.
The basketball sessions helped Conor feel less afraid of trying new things, deal with more challenging tasks at school and has helped him develop interpersonal skills such as communication and teamwork with teachers and fellow pupils.
Thanks to his involvement in the initiative, Conor has grown in confidence with the sport and is now able to teach and coach younger pupils in classes outside of school. His attitude in class has improved considerably and he is applying the confidence and motivation developed in sessions to his schoolwork. He has also taken on the role of sports ambassador for the school, visiting schools in the region to pass on the lessons he has learned to others.
Joining 11 other regional finalists from across the UK at the prestigious UK awards ceremony, Conor received his trophy from Olympic gold medalist and Sky Sports Living for Sport Ambassador, Darren Campbell, who crowned him overall Sky Sports Living for Sport Student of the Year 2010. Conor was also joined on stage by Sky Sports News presenters Vicky Gomersall and John Paul Davies.
As the UK’s overall winner, Conor receives a £100 Adidas voucher, £2000 towards his school’s next Sky Sports Living for Sport project and an additional visit from an Athlete Mentor.
Mr Bob Foley, Head of PE at Newbattle High and the wining teacher commented:
“School sport plays a vital role in nurturing the physical, mental and emotional health of young people – it’s so much more than about improving fitness levels. One of the major benefits that we have seen firsthand has been the dramatic way participation in school sport can drive up young people’s confidence and self-esteem. Just a little bit of self-belief can act as a springboard for young people to play an active role in class, make friends more easily and generally become far more engaged in school life. We have seen a jump in attendance levels, with a knock on effect on academic results. Our pupils are happier and more secure in who they are and what they can achieve and this really shows, in so many ways. Conor’s story is an inspiration and I am so proud of what he has achieved.
“I would urge fellow PE teachers looking for ways to make lessons real for your students to take a look at the Sky Sports Living for Sport programme. Fundamentally though, it is the combination of dynamic PE teachers and the support of a good Head who has vision and commitment that is crucial to getting the project off the ground and reaping its full rewards.”
The Sky Sports Living for Sport Student of the Year awards encourages schools across the UK to nominate pupils whose involvement demonstrated how sport supports students in developing skills such as confidence, respect and a sense of achievement. For more information please visit http://livingforsport.skysports.com
Olympic gold medallist
Darren Campbell commented:
“Conor’s story is a shining example of the positive impact sport can have on young people, and I was delighted to present him with this award today in recognition of his hard work and commitment to improving himself and becoming a better student in all areas of his education.
“Today’s awards ceremony was a reminder of how influential sport can be in the development of young people. Sport helped me learn how to channel the focus and determination I have in sport into everything I do – without that influence my life would have been very different. This award demonstrates how Conor is equipping himself with the life skills he will need to succeed.”