Outstanding young people honoured for their courage and determination
CITY students have proven without doubt it is possible to beat the odds.
Whether it is overcoming family problems, battling terminal cancer or refusing to be beaten by a growth problem, three teens in particular have triumphed and are an inspiration to all.
Iona Banton, Kris Dunn and Raja Jamsheid gave judges in the Nottingham Post's Student Awards a headache thanks to their incredible achievements in the face of adversity.
Iona, 16, of Corporation Oaks, Mapperley, has experienced major family difficulties over the past decade, including her cousin being murdered, her parents splitting up and having to look after her two younger brothers, one of whom has ADHD.
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She also took an overdose after a troubled time in her life.
But she has continued to work hard, gaining top GCSE grades to get into the sixth form at Nottingham Girls' Academy and helping to run dance classes for her peers.
She hopes to achieve her ambition of being a primary school teacher.
At last night's awards, she was named the winner of the beating the odds category and the overall Student of the Year.
After picking up the awards, she said: "I'd read about the others and didn't think I'd be the one. It just feels great.
"I'm only from Aspley, this tiny little area, and hardly anyone knows me. I'm just speechless."
She added: "I wasn't always the best student in school and I had behaviour issues, but my dance teacher Jo Hawley encouraged me to get my maths and English up to scratch."
Life has been equally tough for Kris Dunn. He narrowly missed out on the beating the odds accolade but picked up a special Editor's award.
Kris, 16, of Squire Avenue, Bulwell, was diagnosed with bone cancer in March, months before his GCSE exams.
In spite of having intensive chemotherapy, he managed to find time to study and was rewarded with Cs in English, maths and science.
He also gained a pass in an engineering diploma and scooped a merit in an ICT qualification. He has been told there is no cure for his cancer but he does voluntary work at St Mary's Primary and Nursery School, in Bulwell, and can't wait to pass his driving test. He said: "I carried on with my GCSEs because I was just thinking about the future. I didn't want to give up.
"All I wanted to do was carry on fighting and I just wanted to carry on as normal. I was so glad just to be nominated."
Meanwhile, Raja Jamsheid has been highly courageous.
The 17-year-old, of Alberta Terrace, Sherwood Rise, had dreamed of a footballing career with Manchester United before a growth problem in his right leg robbed him of that hope.
Instead, he turned to coaching at Djanogly City Academy, leading them to success.
He has achieved this in spite of having three major unsuccessful leg operations and having 48 pins inserted in his leg.
He said: "You never hear stories about many people in my situation trying to get far in life, and it's difficult for people with disabilities.
"I said if I can't carry on with a career in the game, then I may as well teach the game."