Sunderland student awarded prize by Schools Minister for dedication to charitable work during the pandemic
A student at a Sunderland school has won an award for her academic achievements and charitable work during the pandemic at a ceremony hosted by the Schools Minister and Education Secretary.
Josita Kavitha Thirumalai, who attends St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy and their mixed sixth form with St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, has won the 2021 Lord Glenamara Prize.
The prize, which celebrates gifted young people from across the North East, awards pupils for their academic skills as well as their contribution to society.
During the pandemic, Josita sang for residents in care homes, appearing over Zoom to help tackle boredom and loneliness and to raise spirits at a time when people couldn’t meet their loved ones.
One of 33 students shortlisted for the prize, Josita was presented with her award by Schools Minister Baroness Berridge at a virtual ceremony, while the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appeared via video message.
Monica Shepherd, Headteacher at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, said: “Josita is an exemplary role model for us all.
“Josita encapsulates our ethos perfectly, providing inspiration, positivity and happiness whether that’s at school, at home or within the local community.
“Baroness Berridge commented that Josita was “an example for all young people and adults alike” and we couldn’t agree more - her academic achievements, her kindness and her motivation to give back is incredible.”
The award was first introduced in 2012 in memory of Secretary of State for Education, Ted Short.
Josita said: “It’s an enormous honour to win this prestigious award. I’m extremely grateful to have had such opportunities to develop my confidence to enrich my education and embrace new life experiences.”