Large-group gatherings were held across Sunderland and South Tyneside last weekend as Year-11 pupils finished their exams and welcomed the start of the summer holidays.
The three days passed without major incident but a group of students from Whitburn Church of England Academy went above and beyond to care for their communities, setting their alarms early to pick up any remaining bottles, cans and plastic cups that had been left behind from the previous night’s festivities.
In recognition of their selfless gesture, Chief Inspector Sam Rennison and Inspector Denise Easdon visited the Academy on Wednesday, June 19 to surprise the quintet.
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Students Erin Sowerby, Emily Barker, Leah Ferguson and Ebony Hall, all 16, and 15-year-old Jonah Ord were presented with police commendations thanking them for their efforts.
“We were delighted with the overwhelming majority of students last weekend who behaved responsibly and celebrated the end of their GCSE exams in the right way,” Ch Insp Rennison said.
“But these five students’ actions, getting up early to fill bin bags with rubbish to make sure their community remains an attractive place to live and visit, really struck a chord with officers and the wider public.
“It was therefore a real pleasure to go into the Academy and meet the teenagers, thank them personally on behalf of the Force, and present them with a commendation as a gesture of our appreciation.
“I’d like to thank all of our students who were an absolute credit to themselves, and who took care to look after each other and ensure everyone had a fun, stress-free evening without stepping over the mark.”
John Crowe, principal at Whitburn Church of Academy, said: “I am really proud of what they have done.
“These five are an absolute credit to the Academy.
“ I hope they have helped to change the mindset of those who sometimes think negatively about the actions of young people. They are true school ambassadors.”