Two young wordsmiths from one of Sheffield’s smallest schools are celebrating after being named as regional finalists in a letter writing contest.
Ahmed Hussain and Riya Rajanah, both aged 12 and pupils at Handsworth Christian School, beat off stiff competition from children across Yorkshire and the Humber to make it through to the regional finals of Royal Mail’s Young Letter Writer of the Year competition.
Schoolchildren from across the country, aged four to 14, were asked to write a letter explaining what their dream job is and why.
Ahmed and Riya, both in Year 8 at the school which has just 100 pupils, are among 10 regional finalists – and they couldn’t be happier.
Riya, who wants to be fashion designer, said: “I was really pleased, but I was kind of shocked and a bit dumbstruck. I didn’t really think I’d get through, but I am really pleased about it.” Ahmed, who wants to be a Labour MP, praised his teachers for their support.
“They helped us by checking over our work and making sure it was okay. They also said do what you enjoy because at the end of the day if you do what you enjoy you get the best result. Because we both did what we enjoy I think that’s why we’ve both come this far.”
The talented duo said they were hopeful they would win the contest – but were proud of what they had already achieved.
Their entries will now go through to the next stage of the competition, where local judges will pick the top two letters from the region to progress to the national final.
In the final, TV presenter Helen Skelton will be part of a judging panel, who will choose the two winning letters.
The winners will be given £1,000 each and £1,000 will also be awarded to their school.
Headteacher Tony Shift said everyone at the school, on Handsworth Road, was pleased for Ahmed and Riya.
“I am very proud of them, as are all their classmates. There were lots of cheers from them when we found out. Everybody was really pleased for them both,” he said.
“It’s amazing for us that not one, but two of our children have got through, especially in the same year group – and when the school is so small.
“There are only 15 people in their class. Of course, we all hope they go all the way and win the competition.”
Joining Ahmed and Riya in the regional finals are six-year-old Flynn Rogers from Stocksbridge Nursery Infant School, Pot House Lane, and Daniel James Nutley, aged 11, from Wath Comprehensive School, Sandygate.
Each finalist has already won £40 in vouchers for themselves and £40 for their school.
Regional judging will take place later this month and the two winners will be announced shortly afterwards.