For the last six years International Baccalaureate students from Torquay Boys’ Grammar School have been heavily involved with the Torbay Civic Award. In particular, students have led and managed both the launch in the autumn and the presentation night in the spring. Almost always, this experience has been particularly empowering for the IB students; often influencing their important and life-changing decisions taking place at this time.
This month we hear from Abby Lowe and Megan Knight who supported the Torbay Civic Award in 2010 and who write about how their work with the Torbay Civic Award changed their lives.
Abby and Megan at the 2010 Torbay Civic Award launch.
In 2010 I was part of a team of students helping Mrs Thomson organise an event to celebrate the Torbay Civic Award and introduce it to new students. The concepts of the Civic Award have stuck with me since then; those of citizenship, charity work and self-improvement. This has led me to continue to work with multiple charities whilst studying Medicine at Newcastle University. In particular, my involvement with the Torbay Civic Award gave me the skills needed to gain a position on the Newcastle committee of a national charity called SKIP, which promotes the education and health welfare of children in developing countries. SKIP allowed me to spend a month teaching English and Health to children in rural Cambodia; one of my greatest experiences. My current involvement is through recruiting and training new volunteers to continue our work abroad.
For me, the Torbay Civic Award was an important impetus leading me towards further charity work which I enjoy immensely and has taught me invaluable skills. I think it is a fantastic opportunity for children in the Torbay area; teaching them responsibility, a sense of citizenship and the importance of helping others.
As part of the International Baccalaureate course at Torquay Boy’s Grammar School, I, along with several other sixth form members, collaborated with Karen Thomson to provide a ceremony for local primary school children, to celebrate the completion of their Torbay Civic Award. The Civic Award was a project for year 6 pupils to partake in, encouraging them to take an active role in the community. This was a project that we could really relate to, understanding the importance of teaching young children the values of citizenship, providing principles and morals to act as a solid foundation that they could build on throughout their education.
I am currently one year away from completing my medical degree at the University of Bristol and becoming a doctor, and know that the experience I gained from organising this event has aided me in projects I’ve been involved with throughout university. During my time at medical school I have been involved with several charities, from working with patients at a children’s hospital in Bristol to helping promote Women’s health and safety. The project I am currently involved with is training medical students to teach CPR to children in schools and at youth groups, aiming to enable young people in providing immediate first aid. Helping to organise the Civic Award was a refreshing challenge, and one that has provided me with key skills that I still employ today, such as working well amongst a team of differing ages, establishing clear aims and achieving them, and coordinating large numbers of people.
I would like to thank Abby and Megan and the many IB students who have supported the Torbay Civic Award with such dedication, creativity and passion over the last six years; inspiring the children and providing them with life-long memories. Good luck in all your futures! Karen Thomson; Torbay Civic Award Founder