Student is recognised for going above and beyond!

13 February 2024

Joanie Stevens is well known amongst her fellow students and staff at The Samworth Church Academy for doing all she can to support community projects, and for employing her skills to provide a voice for her fellow students and youth in the wider community. So, it came as no surprise to her teachers when they heard 6th former Joanie was to receive a gift in recognition of her tireless voluntary work. 

Delivering the surprise was PCSO Amanda Parkes, and PCSO Leah Morton of the Neighbourhood policing team. PCSO Amanda Parkes explained, “We received some donations from businesses that we could give back into the community, and Joanie was the first person we thought about. Whilst my colleague and I no longer cover this local area, we have worked together with Joanie recently on projects with youth in the area, and felt this was a small gesture to ‘pay back’ for all the voluntary work she carries out in the community. It really is to reward her hard work. I was so impressed by her attitude to school, her community, and to the police in her role as Youth Commissioner for the PCC, she is unforgettable to us! I could really see us working with her in the future and it makes me a little emotional to think about how hard she works for others. This small gesture is our way of saying thank you for her commitment and care.” 

The gift contained some practical items to assist Joanie in her studies and community meetings, as well as some fun items. They included stationary, a Kindle, a smart watch, and of course a cuddly toy in the form of a dancing cactus! Joanie said she was grateful for the gift, but true to her kind nature showed concern at being singled out for recognition. She said, “I was expecting to attend a meeting, so I am really surprised by this gift! I know the reasons why I do what I do; and don’t feel like I deserve any thanks for it because it’s the right thing to do.”

Speaking of her motivation Joanie said, “Unlike many I have a very supportive family.  But I know not everyone has that, and to be able to assist, and support other young people to overcome obstacles, their difficulties, or problems associated with their personal circumstances seems to me to be the right thing to do. Everyone deserves a chance. I am grateful for the gift but very surprised by it!”

Hannah Crosby is Deputy Safeguarding Lead at the academy and was with Joanie when she received the surprise. She said, “I am not surprised by this, -unlike Joanie! She is my go-to when I have a project or something that we need student voice for. She massively downplays the things that she does; she gives a voice to our students, on her home estate and wider community. Whenever we have an initiative, she is the first to get involved, including recently the bike locks and bike safety scheme.  In short, she is absolutely fantastic!”