College reveals three inspiring winners of community-wide ‘Unexpected Upsides’ competition

Hopwood Hall College has announced three inspiring winners of its community-wide competition to uncover the ‘unexpected upsides’ of lockdown.

The contest saw entries submitted from all over the region, in formats such as videos, pictures and creative writing, as people celebrated finding the silver lining of an otherwise challenging time.

The Under 12s prize went to seven-year-old Zachary Grimshaw, who’s been learning to play the piano after a neighbour gifted it to his family in March.

Zachary, who attends Mount Carmel RC Primary School in Blackley, dazzled in his entry where he performed a newly mastered rendition of Away in a Manger.

In the 12-18 Years category, budding poet Esther Boyede took the top spot after composing a powerful multi-verse poem called Optimism.

The 14-year-old, who attends Our Lady’s RC High School in Higher Blackley and aspires to go into a career in medicine, addressed the need to stay positive in with her gripping work.

Finally, Rochdale mum-of-two Amy Perkin came first in the Aged 19+ category. 

The NHS key worker designed a rainbow-coloured mosaic featuring the handprints of her husband Mark and sons Jacob, six, and Noah, three.

Winners Amy and Esther each received a new Chromebook as their prize, whereas Zachary earned an Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet.

The three also received personalised certificates to keep as a record of their achievement. 

The ‘Unexpected Upsides’ competition was designed to showcase the unwavering talent and creativity of the community, particularly the younger generation who haven’t had access to normal education during lockdown.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College, said: 

“We’re so pleased that this competition has resonated with the community and produced three really deserving winners. 

“Zachary and Esther, in particular, are great reminders that our local schools are brimming with talented young people who won’t allow obstacles to be put in their way.

“We fully expect they’ll use their handy new gadgets to keep pushing the boundaries of what they’re capable of.”

Charlotte Lancaster, the Head of Year 10 at Our Lady’s RC High School in Higher Blackley, said: 

“Esther’s win is fantastic news for such a naturally gifted pupil.

“Now that she’s doing a lot of work from home, the Chromebook will enable her to reach new heights. 

“Esther’s work is already of an incredible standard, so this will give her the ease of being able to keep working in her own home and access all the opportunities that come her way.”

Helen Grimshaw, Zachary’s mum who attended Hopwood Hall College, said: 

“Zachary’s achievement means the world to him. He was stumped when he heard the news – he was very overwhelmed! 

“I am really happy for him. It’s fantastic news to hear as a parent. I can’t take the credit though, it was all Zachary!”

“I’m so glad that this positive experience is what he’ll remember about lockdown when he looks back in years to come.”


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