EDUCATION AWARDS: Callum to share words you can live by
The Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian Education Awards night would not be complete without a guest speaker to inspire his or her audience.
Retired RAF Flight Lieutenant Carl Harding and “sporty” heart surgery patient Tilly Milverton, along with ex-Great Britain triathlete and special needs teacher Abi Schofield, have each been handed the task of sharing a “word of wisdom’ with a predominantly education-focused audience.
But for our fourth Education Awards night, at Spalding’s South Holland Centre on Thursday, July 5, at 7pm, the Free Press and Guardian has invited performance poet Callum Brazzo to draw from his own, first-hand experience of growing up in South Holland.
Originally from Long Sutton, but now living in Spalding, Callum is actively involved in South Holland Centre’s Youth Takeover group and also works to raise awareness of issues affecting South Holland’s autistic community.
Callum said: “I am absolutely delighted to lend my voice to this event because, at the heart of all that I have achieved over the years, is a deeply entrenched desire for education and application of that education to everyday life.
“My past, present and future is best told through poetry as poetry has always been the most prominent outlet for my thoughts and emotions,
“Now it is also an outlet for the thoughts and emotions of others, although I am not a voice for the voiceless but, rather, I am someone who says ‘This autistic person has something to tell you.’”
Callum has a growing audience around the area and beyond for his talk ‘Why We Should Make Mountains Out of Molehills’, explaining the under-utilised potential of autistic people in society.
His poems have been published in The Big Issue magazine and Callum also performed as part of The National Gallery’s touring exhibition, Picture The Poet, when it came to The Collection Museum in Lincoln three years ago.
The former Peele Community College student has appeared at various festivals both locally and further afield, along with the regular Acoustic Cafe event at South Holland Centre.
Callum said: “People in this world turn to ‘cures’ or they abuse autistic people in the hope of ‘fixing’ them or taking them away from their ‘own worlds’.
“But formal diagnoses of autism are not for everyone, even though my own diagnoses for having an autistic identity, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s syndrome helped others identify and understand aspects of my behaviour quicker so that support could be flagged up.
“Despite this, I wish the support for me was there from the start, instead of me now having to harbour resentment towards the bullies, teachers and experiences I went through at school.
“I nurture acceptance, whether it be an acceptance of the past, a knowledge of myself or the belief that I can create my own future.”
In March 2018, Callum was given the opportunity to share an autistic view of life in south-east Lincolnshire through a weekly column in the Free Press.
He said: “People need to realise that we share this world and if we can stop counter-productive practices like applied behaviour analysis (ABA) and bleach therapies from entering our autistic natures, I, for one, would certainly be a happier person.
“But it takes education and there are many people who have pushed me forward in life, all of whom I appreciate.”
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. You can nominate an individual, group, team or school across one or more of the awards’ 12 categories, with forms available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Completed forms should be returned no later than 5pm on Friday, May 25.
A panel of judges will then meet in early June to choose three finalists in each category, ahead of the awards night itself at South Holland Centre, Spalding, on Thursday, July 5, at 7pm.
Three nominees in each award category will be invited to the awards, along with parents and staff from schools and pre-schools, where representatives from each of the category sponsors will present trophies and certificates to the finalists.
• HEADLINE SPONSOR - DUNCAN AND TOPLIS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS AND BUSINESS ADVISERS, PINCHBECK
• Primary School of the Year, sponsored by Springfields Outlet Shopping, Spalding
• Secondary School of the Year, sponsored by Mana Education, Rutland
• Student of the Year, sponsored by Moore Thompson Chartered Accountants, Spalding and Market Deeping
• Most Improved Student of the Year, sponsored by Worldwide Fruit Spalding
• Outstanding Sporting Achievement, sponsored by Double G Clothing, King’s Lynn
• Inspirational Primary Teacher, sponsored by Freshtime UK Ltd, Wyberton
• Inspirational Secondary Teacher, sponsored by Maples Solicitors, Spalding
• Support Staff Award, sponsored by UK Produce Industry Fair 2018, Peterborough
• Pre-School of the Year, sponsored by Riverside Training, Spalding
• Pre-School Staff Award, sponsored by Bakkavor Group, Spalding
• Contribution to the Community, sponsored by Duncan and Toplis Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, Pinchbeck
• Environmental Award, sponsored by South Holland District Council