Old Scholars’ Cup Citation 2018

This person has set themselves extremely high academic standards, and would be forgiven for focusing solely on themselves and their attainment. That is the least that they have done. They have supported members of their community; they have acted as last-minute teacher, coach and source of reassurance. This person does not just support others of a similar age: they are an important figure in their community, and are a pillar of support for the young and old.

 

This student knows what it is like to be without security and remembers the pressures and burdens this brings. It is a sign of empathy and determination that he was instrumental in bringing about Ackworth School’s first refugee respite day, in which people who have sought refuge in the UK from all over the world were able to visit Ackworth to enjoy a day of games, art, music and community friendship.

 

Outside his A-Level academic studies, this student has worked as a volunteer translator, project worker, befriender, receptionist, resettlement support worker, tutor and community activist with a number of different organisations: the Claremont Community Centre, the Horton Housing Association, Enable 2, Bevan Healthcare, the Syrian Association of Yorkshire and The Refugee Council.

 

There is a saying, that when it comes to telling a personal story, you should speak from your scars, not from your wounds. This student’s story is one which resonates and still hurts, but it is shared openly and honestly, not to elicit sympathy but rather to communicate the powerful reality of what is happening in the world. This student has spoken of his feelings and experiences on countless occasions, sharing his factual, heartfelt and inspiring words to year groups, house groups and subject classes in the school; this student has shared painful and tragic details of events so that they could contribute to a powerful and compelling scene in the School’s summer production; this student has presented to and on behalf of charities, statutory and voluntary agencies across the country, to audiences in their hundreds.

 

This student speaks in the pursuit of truth and learning, for knowledge and empathy, sharing openly to help others learn more, regardless of the cost to themselves.

 

The criteria of the Old Scholars’ Cup are to show the best qualities of initiative, innovation, enterprise and service in a way which benefits the school, local, and indeed, national communities. This student does all of this and more. He conducts himself with politeness, kindness and respect, possessing a profound sense of joy and morality at his core. The winner of this year’s Old Scholars’ Cup is Ayham Al-Halabi.