Global Award Win: MACS Alysa Neads

On July 1st, our incredible year ten pupil Alysa Neads, became a recipient of a Diana Award 2020! The Diana Award is ‘the most prestigious accolade that a young person aged 9-25 can receive for their social action or humanitarian work’. It is the only award founded in the memory of Princess Diana and has the full support of her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex; firmly believing that young people ‘have the power to change the world.’ 

This global award was won, by just one-hundred and eighty-four recipients, across thirty-five countries worldwide! There were just eight winners in Wales and Alysa was the youngest winner in Wales! 

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During the virtual graduation ceremony, the recipients were commended by Prince Harry who commented: “You have found the power and inspiration inside of you, to make a positive mark on the world.” Alysa’s brief pre-recorded statement, as to why she had won, made for a thrilling appearance on screen!

After the ceremony concluded, Mr. Church (nominator) and Mr. Badman had a special surprise for Alysa. With the fantastic help of MACS staff and some very special contacts, wonderful video messages of congratulations were relayed to her. 

These included Beth Winter M.P, Ann Clwyd M.P (retired), Vikki Howells MS, Councillor P. Jarman (MACS Chair of Governors), Louisa Searle (Director of First Give), Brad Williams (Cynon Valley News), Luke Rees (Award-winning motivational speaker), Spencer West (WE Ambassador), Dr. Rhys Jones (Cardiff University), Wynne Evans (BBC Radio Wales) and Jagger & Woody (Heart FM) to name but a few! The highlight was a beautiful, personal message from televisions ‘Pride of Britain’- Carol Vorderman! (view on @MACS_RS) 

In her video message to Alysa, MACS Headteacher Mrs. S. Evans commented: “I am absolutely delighted on behalf of all of the staff and governors at MACS, to send you our fondest congratulations.” 

Alysa also received a letter of congratulations from the Minster For Education, Kirsty Williams, who commented: “This is such a wonderful achievement and I would like to congratulate you on your success. Well done Alysa.”

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Alysa won the Diana Award for completing the social action @FirstGiveUK programme, to an exceptional standard during her year 9 Religious Studies lessons. She led a team of three peers in putting on twelve charitable events in the local community, undertaking ninety-seven hours of social action, raising an amazing £2,058 in just eight weeks! Her team also went on to win the £1000 First Give grant in the school competition final! Her chosen charity - @LeeGardensPool received a phenomenal total of £3,058! 

The story of her teams’ efforts, was featured as a model of UK good practice, in the recently published ‘Big Education: Schools in their Communities’ academic journal. Alysa and her team were also invited to give a presentation, about their remarkable engagement with the local community, to European academics at the York University: ‘International Conference For Education and Citizenship.’

Alysa now becomes part of the ‘Diana Award Family’ and will undertake their mentoring programme. Earl Spencer has extended her family an invite to visit Althorpe house, the childhood home of Princess Diana. Alysa has also been nominated for a ‘Diana Legacy Award’ for 2021. The recipients of this award are invited to a formal ceremony at Kensington Palace, where they are honoured by Prince William, Prince Harry and Earl Spencer. 

Mr. Church