Four students from a Tees Valley school have been awarded for their artwork which challenges assumptions about the role of women.

The students from Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough, part of Vision Academy Learning Trust, will now receive bespoke Career Explorer prizes after their success in the #ChoosetoChallenge competition held as part of the region’s celebrations for International Women’s Day.

The culmination of the competition comes amid the launch of the Power of Women (POW) campaign which seeks to change the lives of young women in the Tees Valley area by shining a light on the positive accomplishments of women in the region.

International Women’s Day saw partners across the region including Teesside University, Assist Women’s Network, Tees Business, Just Williams and Darlington Building Society come together to stage a series of inspirational talks, sessions and competitions.

As part of the #ChoosetoChallenge competition, schools and individuals from across the Tees Valley were invited to share their goals and challenges through a creative medium, such as poems, videos, pictures, stories and posters.

Entries to the competition were then judged by a panel comprising winners of the Tees Businesswomen Awards.

The four winners will now get a specially tailored Career Explorer prize to suit their interests and abilities, which could range from work experience opportunities to a future workshop in their school.

The four successful students were:

  • Bridie Dowson who sent a video of her singing a song.
  • Hannah Fegan who wrote a short story.
  • Hannah Fox who created a piece of artwork entitled ‘The Future is Female’.
  • Libby Daley who submitted a video challenging the perception of cheerleaders.

Libby said: “I felt like I should do something to make people realise that cheerleading isn’t just something that people in America do for fun after school, it is a serious sport. I have spent hours practising during the lockdown and can’t wait to get back to it soon. 

“My inspiration comes from my coaches, who are all strong and capable women. They work really hard. They teach me and the other girls in the team to be confident and to believe in ourselves.”

Nichola Crawford, Assistant Headteacher at Laurence Jackson School, added: “This has been a fabulous opportunity for our female students.

“It has clearly captured their imagination and inspired them to have the confidence to showcase their talents.

“It is opportunities like this that can go on to have an unexpected and never to be underestimated impact on young people’s lives.”

The Power of Women campaign led by Professor Jane Turner OBE DL, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) at Teesside University, is being relaunched this month after being put on hold due to Coronavirus.

It aims to lift the aspirations and ambitions of among young females in the region through a dedicated interactive POW website, accessible by all schools in the region, providing content that helps girls address a whole host of issues whilst giving a voice and platform for them.

Professor Turner said: “We were delighted with the entries in the #ChoosetoChallenge competition and it was fantastic to see such a wide array of creative talents on display from girls across the region.

“The themes and message explored in the artwork perfectly illustrate the importance of the Power of Women campaign and why it is vital that we work together to find ways to change the lives of young women in the region by inspiring them through positive examples of what women can achieve.”

The official launch of the Power of Women campaign is Friday the 23rd April. More information will follow.

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