Stephen Coote, Student of the Year 2019; Liana Juberte, Most Improved Student; Poppy Gill, Outstanding Sporting Achievement 2019
Two teenagers who beat the odds, and another with the world at her feet, took the three students' prizes at this year's Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards.
Stephen Coote, head boy at Willoughby School, Bourne; Liana Juberte, of Spalding Academy, and Poppy Gill, of Spalding High School, took the Student of the Year, Most Improved Student and Outstanding Sporting Achievement awards respectively.
David Gratton, partner with award category sponsors Duncan and Toplis Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, presented the award to Stephen who won the judges over with his willingness to help his peers at Willoughby School, despite having severe learning needs and limited mobility due to cerebral palsy.
Alice Coote, Stephen's mother, said: "My son has grown up and matured during the last seven years at Willoughby School where he is really keen to help other students because of the past experiences he has gone through."
Charlotte Pool (Spalding High School) and Tom Paskin (Bourne Academy) where the other finalists in the Student of the Year category.
A similar "against all odds" achievement was recognised when Liana collected her award from Steve Maxwell, chief executive officer for award sponsors Worldwide Fruit, of Spalding.
Liane, who won the award ahead of other shortlisted nominees Spencer Bartle (The Deepings School) and Alex Whitton (Willoughby School), said: "I was like an angel in Year 7, but my behaviour started to go downhill in Year 8.
"But when Spalding Academy was taken over by South Lincolnshire Academies Trust, I decided to change my behaviour and so this award means everything to me, my mum and my family as well."
Mr Maxwell said: "I love this award and I love seeing people improve."
Poppy Gill's talents as a street dancer, which has seen her perform worldwide as part of London-based group Unity UK, saw her edge out karate player Sophie Doyle (Spalding Monkshouse Primary School) and fellow Spalding High School student, gymnast/trampolinist Jessica Ringsell.
After she was presented with her sports award by Gordon Chilvers, of award sponsors Double G Clothing, King's Lynn, Poppy said: "I thought it was a big enough achievement just to have been nominated, so to win is amazing, especially as I'm flying out to India on Monday to be in a street dance movie."