King Alfred Students Celebrate Community Award

King Alfred’s Academy pupils who helped organise the Wantage Summer Festival have won their school’s first ever community service awards.

The pupils from Wantage, acted as a marketing and promotions team for the town-wide festival of arts, music and Lego this June and July.

As well as reviewing events, they interviewed their town mayor, interviewed people at festival events and promoted the festival on social media.

They even interviewed the German mayor of Wantage’s twin town Seesen, who visited during the festival.

In return they gained work experience and training in digital journalism.

Bryony Gooch, Chloe Aston, Mia Collins, Natasha Doxey and Yasmine Felder, pictured, picked up awards alongside Taylor Brittain and Boris Buklanov.

The new accolade, sponsored by Wantage Town Council, was presented at King Alfred’s Awards Evening on October 13.

Year 13 Bryony Gooch said she was struck by the strong sense of the community at the festival.

She said: “Although I had been to certain events in Wantage, I never fully realised how much people cared about their local society; there is a sense of pride and optimism that the people working at these events share.

“As a digital journalist, I got to witness this firsthand.”

One event which exemplified this sense of community, Bryony said, was Dylan Fest.

Run by the Sweatbox Youth Club at King Alfred’s East Site, the day of live music was held to commemorate 15-year-old King Alfred’s pupil Dylan Edwards, who died on October 23 last year.

Bryony said: “The turnout was amazing, the atmosphere was filled with good music; heads were covered in large colourful hats.

“Inside, people were making a mosaic mural of Dylan’s name. It’s not every day that you see people working together with such commitment to a principle.”

This summer, the Wantage Summer Festival offered over 80 live music, dance, arts and craft events. For the first time, young people were asked to help promote the event.

Jo Halliday, the headteacher at King Alfred’s, noted that the new community service award highlighted an important part of student life.

Mayor Steve Trinder praised the students for their outstanding support of the festival. Furthermore, the school gave awards to 115 top-achieving students in all subject areas at its awards night.