On Monday Jaime received his school's "Childer Award" (basically a Student of the Year award). Each school in the local education authority nominates a student to receive the award and yesterday was Meanwood's turn ... and Jaime had been selected to receive the award. The scheme is sponsored by the Round Table. I asked Meanwood Primary School to also present Kezia with something ... otherwise ... well, if you're a parent you'd understand ... which they did. The school was shown Ken's photos from Capella Primary School here in Sao Tome where Jaime attended first and second class and which was presented with a Meanwood International Teddy Bear last week. As Ken kindly accompanied me to Capella Primrary School last week to present the Meanwood Bear and a big jar of Voice of America sweets, we sent an article to the VOA blog yesterday and it was immediately published. Below some photos and the Meanwood school director's speech:
"For me, this is one of the best days of the school year because it is an opportunity to focus exclusively on something positive. Every year, when it’s time to select our Rochdale Childer Award winner – I am delighted by the stories that it uncovers.
This year’s winner has been a unanimous choice by all those involved because his achievements and personality deserve recognition and reward. It is a wonderful story of courage and perseverance which I am thrilled to say has a happy ending.
In November 2006 a little boy joined our school in Year 3. He came from a small African country, where the weather had been very warm, his school had been very different from ours and everybody spoke Portuguese. Imagine how frightened he must have been, finding himself in a strange cold land where everybody is speaking a language you can’t understand!!
He came to England with his Mum, Dad and little sister. Dad is from England and speaks both Portuguese and English so was able to help the family to settle in. Mum spoke very little English and must have found everything just as confusing and frightening as did her son, particularly when Dad had to return to work in Africa leaving the family behind.
As if this wasn’t enough to cope with, the family had returned to England to access treatment for the little girl who had been diagnosed with Leukaemia.
Throughout all these trials and tribulations our winner kept working hard and most remarkably kept smiling. He is a truly lovely boy who is an exemplary pupil and a joy to have around.
His determination and commitment to hard work have earned him the respect, admiration and affection of all with whom he comes into contact. He has made amazing progress with all his learning and now speaks English fluently and all achieved in 2 and a half years!!!
The good news is that his sister’s treatment has been successful and she is recovering well. The bad news, for us, is that the family now feel that the time is right to return to Africa. Whilst we shall be tremendously sorry to say goodbye to them, we must be content that the story has a happy ending.
Our winner today, if you haven’t already guessed, is Jaimie Lima.
We mustn’t of course forget his sister Kezia, who also has greeted every difficulty and barrier with a smile. These are two very remarkable children who we have been privileged to have as members of our Meanwood Family."
In June they go to a reception at the Town Hall.
I am an immensely proud father!