Lumen pupil Maryann wins gold in Inspire-Aspire event

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A Derry schoolgirl has scooped a top award in a prestigious competition.

Maryann Pierse, from Lumen Christi College, was awarded a gold medal for her work on the Inspire-Aspire programme.

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The Inspire-Aspire Awards programme reached 35,000 young people this year by using the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the character qualities of Olympians to inspire young people to set personal goals and to develop future aspirations.

Maryann chose Amy Van Dyken as an inspirational figure as part of her work on the programme.

Explaining the reasons for her choice, Maryann said: “I find Amy Van Dyken inspirational because she overcame asthma and injuries to compete in the Olympics and, even after retirement, she is actively aware of other people’s suffering and involves herself in charity work.”

Lumen Christi College was well represented at the prestigious event with a number of their students picking up prizes.

Double world champion and Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop, who presented the awards, said it was being treated as an equal and his determination never to give up which had contributed to his success.

Inspire-Aspire aims to help young people gain a better understanding of their own character qualities and values and inspire them to create a personal development plan.

Maryann explained how much of an impact participating in Inspire-Aspire has had on her.

“Through this project, I have learnt that many of the Olympic values and qualities are also important in everyday life,” she said. “The questions really made me think about what I wanted to do with my life.”