Integrated students recognised at Diana Award ceremony in Belfast

Students from three integrated schools were among the 22 NI recipients of the Diana Award yesterday (03 June 2019), an accolade presented to young people in recognition of inspirational social action or humanitarian work. The scheme, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, is now in its 20th year. Awards are given out by the Diana Award charity with the support of the Princess’ sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

The awards were presented by Diana Award CEO Tessie Ojo at a ceremony in Stormont.

Integrated students recognised at Diana Award ceremony in BelfastThe number of award-winners was boosted by the inclusion of all 14 members of New-bridge Integrated College’s Anti-bullying Ambassador team. This group, aged from 14-18, works at peer education, advice and support and are positive role models, organising a variety of annual activities including fundraising, whole-school assemblies and anti-bullying week events.

Shannon McCaul is Head Girl at Integrated College Dungannon and also chairs the school’s anti-bullying ambassador team. Always working to make everyone feel included and valued, Shannon took a lead role in establishing and furnishing a dedicated space for vulnerable students in the college to take time out and feel safe. She is also very active in supporting many charities and community initiatives.

Shimna Integrated College is very proud of award-winner Maya Ballentine, who is a leading member of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and who has spoken up for equality and inclusion both on TV and in front of a crowd of 20,000 at an equal marriage rally in Belfast. Maya, who is 16, has gained a place on Amnesty UK Youth Council after working tirelessly for the Shimna IC Amnesty Group.

Sandara Kelso-Robb MBE, NI Ambassador for the Diana Award, commented
“I am constantly amazed at the energy and enthusiasm of all the worthy young recipients of the Diana Award. Northern Ireland needs a new generation of change-makers and this recognition will help motivate them and others to drive action in their communities.”

Congratulations go to these and all the award-winners recognised in Belfast yesterday.