Celebrating the past while looking to the future led to an eventful term for youngsters at Burgess Hill Academy.
Recently departed Year 11 students were welcomed back for a presentation evening at the academy, in Station Road, where they received their exam certificates.
A number of special awards were handed out, including the Lions Club International Young Leaders in Service Award, which was presented to Fiona Goring and Cameron Gregory to recognise the extensive hours of voluntary work they had put in alongside their GCSE work.
The Anthon Language Prize was presented to Emily Jellett, while Kelly Balmer received the Reed Trophy.
The latter was voted on by the students and awarded to the person they considered had made the most valuable contribution to the life and routine of the school - someone who had enhanced the well-being of his or her fellow students.
There were certainly some special youngsters in that year group, with three of them - Abi, Jaz and Rose - still giving up their time to run their dance clubs at the academy every week.
Special guest for the presentation evening was High Sheriff of West Sussex Mark Spofforth OBE, whose speech gave students an insight into the historic elements of his role.
Mr Spofforth also shared personal stories regarding the determination and success of his daughter, Gemma, a swimmer who competed in the Beijing and London Olympics and holds the World Record for the 100m backstroke.
The theme of inspiration was continued by a group of Year 9 lads, who attended the Rockurteens Conference at Canary Wharf.
Student Jules Harcourt said: "It was inspiring because we listened to some famous young people talk about their personal stories. They talked about their difficult starts to life and how they overcome their challenges and became successful.
"My favourite speaker was Simone, an Italian entrepreneur who, at the age of 19, was the youngest Michelin star restaurant manager.
"After this he became homeless due to some bad decisions but he bounced back and started his own company. He also could play the digereedo!
"He helped me realise that anyone is possible to come back from being in a low place and becoming successful. We learnt from all speakers that working hard and perseverance can lead to success.”
Another trip saw English students head to Brighton for a two-hour Macbeth workshop, which saw them studying the language of the play and acting out small extracts.
They were then treated to a performance of the play in the city's atmospheric St Nicholas Church.
A school spokesman said it had been "an unforgettable educational experience for everyone on the trip and students now have a much better understanding of the play".
During the past term, academy students did their best to help others, rising to the fundraising challenge by taking part in Children In Need.
More than £800 was raised this year from events including a Key Stage 3 disco, where Dan Willis, of Year 11, acted as DJ. The proceeds from the evening were split between Children in Need, Chestnut Tree House and Cancer Research.
Another fundraising success was the Christmas Hampers appeal, which saw staff and students fill 35 hampers with food for those in need around the community.
A school spokesman said: "Many thanks to Tony Parris, of the Burgess Hill Lions Club, and Cambridge Audio and Paul Myles, of Burgess Hill Youth, for organising the collection of the boxes."
And finally, congratulations went to Jack Woodford, of Year 11, who embarked on a quest to obtain new rugby shirts for the academy team.
Sponsorship was secured from AlyCat Discos and Heights Gym.
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