Nottingham Emmanuel School achieved a string of outstanding achievements in sports last year as students are excelling at a variety of disciplines at county and national levels.
Standing at 6ft 2 inches, 17-year-old student, Harvey Kirk, had never even heard of Sprint Canoeing when he decided to take part in trials at school. But not only did he pass all the tests with flying colours, he is now part of British Canoeing’s Sprint Regional Squad.
It all started, said Harvey, when a coach came into The Nottingham Emmanuel School on a talent identification programme. “I took part in the trials at school and had forgotten about them until a letter arrived saying I had made it through to the second trial.” Harvey passed those trials easily too and received an invitation to train on the water at Holme Pierrepont for the third trials, passing those with equal ease. “That’s when I received the final letter saying I had made it onto the Sprint Futures Programme.”
After further training Harvey has now made it to the Sprint Regional Squad and is heading for the European Championships. He says he is fully supported by his family. “They have basically said go for it, though I am still playing football as well! They just tell me to keep going, to keep pushing and that they will support me all the way. I love the sport, I fell in love with it as soon as I started. I’d like to compete at the Olympics 2024.” With his record, and his dedication to training at 6:30 am daily, Harvey Kirk will undoubtedly be a name to look out for on the podium.
Student Ashley Heseltine is proving his name in the Cricket world and has just been selected for the 2018 Under 13’s Nottinghamshire County Cricket Squad. Ashley said, “I have been playing since I was 8 years old when I struggled to even hold the proper bat! But I eventually went on to play for Nottinghamshire. I have a great coach called Matt who really helps me a lot and now I have been chosen to be in the last 15 for the squad; that’s out of 150 people who took part in the trials.
“My family are really supportive and are behind me all the way!” Now Ashley will go onto specialist training in wicket keeping and then go on to play with the under 13’s squad against other counties. “I want to play for England eventually, I love the sport now. I used to go to lunchtime sessions at The Nottingham Emmanuel School where we played indoor cricket which was great fun. My school teachers are really supportive, Mr Glover really likes his cricket and Mr Hobbs has sent a letter saying how proud he is of my achievements, so I know the school is really behind me too.”
Competing at a national level in Decathlon requires an unusually tough and complex training programme; one which 17-year-old student, Cameron Darkin-Price, knows all about. The discipline requires an all-round talent to perform the ten events involved, starting with 100, 400 and 1500 metres running, 110 metre hurdles, long and high jump, javelin, discus, shop putt and finally the pole vault. Despite suffering with injuries during the season, Cameron represented England and won Bronze in Glasgow in November, his team narrowly missed out on Gold to the Scottish team.
“It was a really good experience and I enjoyed staying over with the team. This season I am hoping to be injury free and will join the under 20’s age group.” The next step is the Indoor Nationals in January. “I would like to go to the European Championships. I really like doing the decathlon and the Teachers at Emmanuel are always asking me for updates. I really appreciate that and in fact if I hadn’t enjoyed PE so much at school I wouldn’t have gotten into competing in the same way.”
Maizie Evison was playing basketball an East Midlands tournament when she was spotted by Basketball England talent scouts. Now the 14-year-old has made it onto the England squad after further trials. “It is my dream to play basketball for England. My family are really good to me, I have to travel a lot to games and they are always willing to take me, usually my Dad drives! Emmanuel teachers are always wanting to know about my progress too, and they are always asking if there is anything they can do to help.” Maizie still plays basketball in school and presumably has no worries about being chosen for the team. “I play Point Guard, which is the play maker, creating opportunities for the team.” Despite her obvious success at the sport Maizie is still an excellent student. “You have to get your education right, it should be a priority.” Now Maizie will play for England, and if all goes well, she hopes to go onto play for Great Britain. “If I made it to play for Great Britain? I would probably cry like I did when I made the selection! I got so many messages and cards saying well done, it was really nice.”
Finally, there is Opal Peet, whose dancing ability has opened up an opportunity of a lifetime. Opal trains at Leah’s Dance Academy four times a week and was chosen this year for the chance to compete for a scholarship at the International Dance Teacher Association school in London. “I have to compete with the other nominees, and only 20 will be chosen for the scholarship. I want to either be a performer or teach dancing when I am older. I think I have the same chance as all of the other nominees, if I put my mind to it! My parents are over the moon about it and my teacher Mr Irons is so happy he wants to tell everyone about my nomination!”
Derek Hobbs, Principal at The Nottingham Emmanuel School said, “The collective achievements of these students is so inspiring. They are not only a credit to The Nottingham Emmanuel School, but are a credit to their families and an inspiration for the entire county.”