LANCASTER Girls’ Grammar School is celebrating after an outstanding success at the Academy Excellence Awards.
Year 12 pupils Katriana Johnes and Alice Pickthall were awarded the top prize in the English and history categories, while Emma Fox and Rehab Paracha, also in Year 12, were named runners up in the physics and economics categories.
The Academy Excellence Awards recognise the outstanding academic achievements of students aged 16 to 19 studying at academies in England.
This year students representing more than 300 academies across England were challenged to write an essay in response to questions set by experts at the University of Nottingham.
The prestigious prizes for academic achievement, which include £1,000 for the winners and work experience placements at The Old Vic Theatre and Sotheby’s in London, were awarded by host comedian Matt Parker at a ceremony at the University of Nottingham.
Susie Dent, who judged the English award and presented Katriana with her prize of £1,000 and an internship at The Old Vic Theatre, said: “This is an outstanding essay – beautifully expressed and exceptionally well researched.
“Katriana addressed the question head on, exploring the complicated but powerful relationship between poetry and politics.
“This, together with a cracking introduction and a flair for pithy expression, impressed us immensely.”
Dr Sam Willis, VIP judge of the history award, said: “I was extremely impressed by Alice’s essay as she used a practical application of history to answer the question.
“The essay was very well balanced and her argument was crystal clear. Excellent sources and referencing too.”
Katriana said: “The highlight of the awards ceremony was meeting Susie Dent. I really enjoyed writing the essay.”
And Alice said: “I’m really excited about the Money Can’t Buy part of the prize. Work experience is really important to me and winning the opportunity to work at an auction house like Sotheby’s is amazing.”
The winners were selected by VIP judges Sandy Nairne, Prof Alice Roberts, Dr Chris Smith, Emily Cummins, Evan Davis, Susie Dent, Kate Humble, Dr Sam Willis, Matt Parker, Jamie Cullum, Dr Lucie Green and Jon Sopel, who assessed the pupils’ essays with a panel of subject specialists and selected the winners and runners up from the hundreds of submissions.