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Rotary Awards Winners

On Monday 16th January the Leeds Rotary Club presented their prestigious Young Citizen Awards to 20 young people from schools, colleges, academies and Youth Organisations from across the region.

The ceremony exists to recognise and honour shining examples of what young people of today are doing for their families, schools, fellow students and communities. Leeds City Academy students Moshen and Mohamad were honoured with two such awards. The students were given certificates by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Gerry Harper, in addition to books donated by Chef Works Europe Ltd. 

Mohsen is a student who is admired by staff and students alike for his positivity and motivation to succeed. He lives with multiple life-limiting conditions which require weekly trips to the hospital for treatment. Mohsen never complains about his condition; instead he chooses to live his vibrant life to the full. He is always eager to learn and his attendance at school is outstanding. He doesn’t let his illness stand in his way of achieving his dreams and always strives to do his best with a smile on his face.

Mohsen is a positive role model and has celebrity status around school. He often gives encouraging advice to students who are struggling or just need some time out. His friends have a saying: "What would Mohsen do?" If they are feeling unwell or having a difficult day, they push themselves through it, because they know that Mohsen does this, every day, with a smile on his face.

Mohamad grew up in Syria. His family was forced to flee the war when he was 10 years old. He was shot in the thigh during an attack on his school and was one of the survivors of the atrocity. In the absence of a local hospital Mohamad was treated at home by his parents. Moving to Romania, Mohamad couldn’t attend regular education because he did not speak Romanian at the time, so schools refused to accept him. The family eventually moved to England and Mohamad started at Leeds City Academy in 2014. Recently his father was injured at work and his mother was diagnosed with a serious illness requiring surgery. As such, Mohamad goes out to do the shopping and looks after his parents at home.

Mohamad is very creative and is able to communicate in four languages (Arabic, Romanian, English and Turkish). He thinks of himself as an inventor as he takes broken electrical units around the house and turns them into other useful things. Over the summer Mohamad worked in a restaurant’s kitchen in Bradford and gave half of his wages to his parents to help with general life. He is keen to do well so he can continue to help his family. He is a remarkable role model at Leeds City Academy, with excellent relationships with peers and staff.

Lesley Hastings, Chair of Youth Opportunities at Rotary Club of Leeds, said: "These are just a few examples of the great enterprise and commitment shown by our young people. If you hear people moan on about the vandals and hooligans among the youth of today just remember there are a lot of great youngsters out there doing tremendous work for their schools, colleges, academies and communities and they are our future."