CedarBridge teen makes history
Salvation Army volunteer, honours student and Carifta Games hopeful. Akeila Richardson’s teachers at CedarBridge Academy already knew she was a pretty outstanding teen and on Saturday night it was made official.
Richardson made history when she was named the overall winner at the 29th Outstanding Teen Awards, the first public school student to do so.
Such has been the dominance of the private schools at the awards that even though she had been nominated her teachers told her not to get hopes up.
So, no one was more surprised than the 17-year-old when the organisers read her name out during the awards ceremony at Hamilton Princess.
“One of my teachers told me not to get my hopes up because private school students always win,” she said. “I only realised it was me when they started to read my biography. I was completely surprised.
“I think this shows that good students are in both public and private schools, and the high standard that public schools are bringing us to.”
Miss Richardson was one of 104 students nominated for the Awards, organised by Teen Services. While several students were honoured for their work in academics, sports and the arts, it was Miss Richardson who won the overall OTA award.
She was also selected as the winner of the female sports OTA award.
Miss Richardson has been on the Principal’s honour role every quarter since S1, and has consistently earned grade averages between 90 percent and 100 percent.
During her S3 year, Miss Richardson sat the Bermuda College Placement Test, earning scores high enough to gain admission to Bermuda College and qualified to take freshmen courses.
Outside of school, Miss Richardson reads stories to students at the Bermuda Library and works with the Salvation Army to serve food to the homeless.
Along with achieving excellent grades and volunteer work, Miss Richardson is an accomplished athlete with her focus on Track and Field, particularity triple jump.
Hours before attending the OTA awards, Miss Richardson was at National Stadium working to earn a place at the Carifta Games in the triple-jump event.
Yesterday (SUNDAY), she was back at the stadium again, attempting to qualify for in long jump. While she said long jump wasn’t her speciality, she felt she had to try out “just to do it.”
She said track and field is a large part of her life, and will likely remain so as she has been offered several sports scholarships.
“After I graduate, I’m planning to continue studying abroad,” she said. “I’m currently being recruited by a couple of schools for track and field scholarships. I’ve had offers for full and partial scholarships.”
She said she hopes to study biology and eventually go to medical school so that she can travel to third world countries and provide medical assistance.
Despite her hard work, impressive grades and high goals, Miss Richardson said she didn’t know why she was nominated by the CedarBridge teaching staff.
“I have no idea what makes me different from anyone else. I really don’t,” she said. “There were a lot of great people nominated.”
Her principal, Kalmar Richards, however said yesterday she has no doubt as to why Miss Richardson took home the award.
Responding to the win, Ms Richards listed the student’s many accomplishments, saying: “The extent and range of Akeila’s achievements is very impressive, and when I stop to consider what she has acheived, she is undeniably an outstanding teen and a young person who stands head and shoulders above her peers.
“Earning the Outstanding Teen Award 2012 is well deserved.”
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