It was a night to remember for Team Mintridge and our Commonwealth gold netball superstar Eboni Usoro-Brown, as we were invited to deliver a Bronze Sports Awards evening for the junior and senior girls at Northampton High School, in partnership with our partners Squadkit. It was also a pleasure to be joined by two Northampton Saints rugby players, Jamie Gibson and Luther Burrell, who also spoke at the evening.
Our evening began with a warm welcome from the staff at Northampton High School who briefed us on the exciting evening ahead.
The juniors would arrive first for their Sports Awards Evening, where the Director of Sport welcomed the parents and staff to a fantastic evening of achievement. The current sports captains spoke eloquently about their time as captain for their sports and the highs and lows of their seasons so far. It was great to hear so many talented young women were working hard for success in each of their sports.
As the night progressed, the junior school students each received an award for their contribution and commitment to their sports. There were smiles all round as the students received their awards with pride. As part of their celebrations, Northampton Saints rugby player Jamie Gibson, delivered a short speech to the students about the importance of working hard and having aspirations. An important message that was echoed by our Commonwealth gold netball champion Eboni Usoro-Brown.
After a great introduction, Eboni was welcomed to the stage to speak to the parents and students. As a former GDST student herself, Eboni really connected with the audience and the journey they are currently taking. As part of her presentation Eboni discussed the importance of team work and how the support network you have really makes a difference to the journey you take. A message that fits in well for the students who already have very busy lives and are being supported by family, friends and teachers at this important time in their lives. It was also important for the students to hear Eboni talk about the need for education and sport to rung alongside each other and that you don’t have to choose between them. As part of her presentation, the audience got to see that memorable gold medal winning moment again, with a delighted cheer from Eboni as the goal is scored for England to beat Australia. With the first round of awards nearly over, the juniors were welcomed to the outside area to have photos and receive autographs from Eboni, which most wanted on their certificates. A fantastic way to end an evening of celebration for the students who also got to see the amazing Commonwealth gold medal, that Eboni was wearing around her neck as they had photos with her in the Mintridge Twitter frame. We can’t wait to see the juniors grow up into future netball stars.
After a quick break it was time for the Senior Girls Awards Evening. Ready to celebrate a fantastic night of achievement, the girls dressed their best and posed for photographs with our England netballer and Northampton Saints rugby player Luther Burrell, under the beautiful spring blossom. As the evening began, the parents and students listened tentatively to the captain’s speeches from each of the sports being awarded on the evening and the remarkable triumphs that had been gained throughout the year. With county, regional, national and international accolades to celebrate, the school had a tough job choosing who would receive awards on the night.
Luther Burrell was welcomed to the stage to deliver a Q&A style interview about his journey and career in rugby. A fantastic way for the students to understand the challenges he has overcome to reach the highest level. This message again was something that Eboni followed on with as she presented her journey into netball and the highs and lows of competing at the top of the netball world stage. Eboni delivered some key messages to the young women in the room, who were all obviously striving for success in their own individual goals.
Some of the key messages from Eboni were:
- Always have self-belief and confidence in what you are doing.
- Focus on a goal and push yourself out of your comfort zone, as that is where you will find the most success.
- Back yourself even when others won’t.
- Use the support network around you and they will help you throughout your life.
- Enjoy the journey.
With some big awards left to present, Northampton High School eagerly awaited the results of the Team of the Year, Sports Personality of the Year and Expectational Achievement awards.
It was extremely fitting for the evening that the Team of the Year award was presented to a very successful netball team and the Sports Personality of the Year was awarded to a very talented netballer. Following in the footsteps of Eboni herself who was part of this year’s BBC Sports Team of the Year with the England Netball squad.
The exceptional achievement award went to a young lady who already knows what it feels like to be a Paralympic champion. A mighty achievement at such a young age.
As the evening drew to a close, the staff said goodbye to some members of their valuable team and celebrated the year’s achievements.
Northampton High School also kindly presented Eboni with a beautiful bouquet of flowers as a token of thanks for a wonderful evening.
Thank you so much to Northampton High School for welcoming Team Mintridge, Squadkit and Eboni Usoro-Brown to be a part of your evening. It was so amazing to see so many talented young athletes working hard to achieve their sporting dreams.
If you would like to see the photos and video from the evening, please contact the staff at Northampton High School.
We look forward to working with you again soon.