Inspirational stories, unwavering loyalty, dedicated support and academic brilliance.
The Star’s Best in Education Awards 2015 was a huge celebration of everything that is fantastic about our wonderful schools.
Education is the pillar of any stable society and there is nothing more rewarding for teachers and students than achieving success.
But success in school cannot be defined simply as the pupil or student at the top of the class, or the school leading the way in exam league tables.
We heard from 11-year-old Thomas Wood who went the extra mile and against all the odds, overcoming huge challenges to achieve his own personal goals.
Not to mention eight-year-old mountain climber Isobel Ward.
She raised over £1,000 for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity by climbing Snowdon and humbly said: “I did it for the poorly children.”
The term ‘political football’ is used all too often in Westminster and education is often a target.
Everyone has their own opinions about how schools and educational establishments should operate.
But one thing I’m sure we can all agree on is the continuation of great schools, great teachers and enthusiastic pupils who want to achieve their ambitions.
The students and pupils who achieve excellence can owe a lot of their thanks to many who attended the awards.
As ever, teachers are playing a pivotal role in shaping the futures of many children and we recognise their endless contribution to the profession they care so passionately about.
Paul Middleton, now Vice Principal at Sheffield Springs Academy, had loud cheers when he accepted his Teacher of the Year award.
He has shown over 30 years of loyal service to the school and said afterwards ‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else’.
The evening also heard from other dedicated school staff who play a vital role away from the classroom - from the lunchtime supervisors keeping children safe, to the school business managers running a tight ship behind the scenes.
On the theme of loyalty, they don’t come more loyal than local Chapeltown celebrity Enid Sanderson.
The lunchtime supervisor has now spent more than 40 years at Lound Junior School and said she has ‘no plans’ to retire anytime soon.
There were also plenty of sporting stars - all could have been worthy winners.
Darcy Deakin, aged 16, looks to be one for the future after winning swimming medals in the European Games in Azerbaijan earlier this year.
And the Olympic hopeful said that getting swimming on the map inside schools is a big passion of hers.
Credit also went to Tapton School KS3 badminton team who became national champions.
Harry Walker, Alex Woodruff, Jay Rathi, Matt Lawrence and Archit Suchdeva made both their school and the city of Sheffield proud.
There will no doubt be celebrations for Nether Edge Primary School and Firth Park Academy after winning Best School in each of their category.
It doesn’t come much better for brain-box Lulu Beatson, who achieved an astonishing 11 A*s with 100 per cent in her Chinese and Textiles exams.
This year The Star was inundated with nominations for the awards, making it one of the hardest to judge in years.
Our thanks to everybody who took time out to send in nominations to us.
There were some really strong entries that unfortunately didn’t make the cut due to the incredibly high standards.
So to all the nominees who were invited along - if you did miss out on first place, please don’t be too disheartened as a nomination is a fantastic achievement in itself.
Special thanks to our awards sponsors Sheffield City Council, Teachers UK, GMB Yorkshire, Sheffield College, Taylor Shaw, Parkwood Academy, SIMT and Mayfield Alpaca Park.
The full list of winners are available in today’s Star with a special eight-page picture pull-out.