Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE OLY, who in 2016 was captain of the first Great Britain Women’s Hockey Team ever to win gold at the Olympics, said even she had doubts about herself right through her teenage years and early career.
“For a long time I was not comfortable in my own skin,” she said.
”But there was a period when I was just fumbling along, and I was dropped from the hockey squad. I will always remember seeing that my name was not on the team list, and I gave myself a talk and asked myself what I really wanted from life. I knew then that it was to win a medal.
“Four years later we won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, which was one of the best days of my life. Four years after that, in Rio, we won gold.
“You have to aim high, even higher than you think you are capable of achieving. Sometimes you will miss, but you will only come as close as you can by daring greatly. Be the best version of you because you are incredible and you are enough,” she said.
Kate was speaking to an audience of students, parents and family members at a packed Louth Town Hall.
Earlier in the day, she had visited the new Louth Academy Upper Campus and given students a masterclass in hockey techniques.
Kate signed autographs and chatted for a couple of hours with the students, who were all eager to meet the Olympic champion.
Eighty-three awards were presented at the inaugural presentation evening for progress, achievement and endeavour in all subject areas, and were interspersed with musical performances from students. These included a stunning classical guitar solo by Eloise Belding; a voice solo by Evie Lancaster; Amber Burton, Sophie Miles, Madeline Williams and Abigail Williams singing “Let Her Go” by Passenger; and Louth Academy Choir closing the event with “This Is Me”.
The winner of the most prestigious award of the night - The Chief Executive’s Special Award for the Most Outstanding Student - went to Maddalynne French.
David Hampson, CEO of Tollbar MAT, described her as “a student who stands out as being exceptional”.
He said: “Maddalynne completed Year 9 with 100 per cent attendance and achieved on or above her target grade in every one of her GCSE subjects, despite extremely difficult personal circumstances. She steered her way through with dignity and determination, and it gives me the greatest pleasure to present her with this award.”
The Principal’s Cup for Best GCSE Progress (value added from KS2-KS4) went to William Gardner.
It was presented by Martin Brown, Louth Academy executive principal, who said: “William showed determination and perseverance throughout a challenging year and came out with a host of GCSEs, including two grade 9s.”
The Philip Bond Cup for Best GCSE Results went to Kayla Phillips, who received the highest point score in her GCSE exams.
TMAT chairman Philip Bond described her as “dedicated, conscientious and always polite”.
The House Champions Trophy was presented to Vela House, who won the most inter-house competitions throughout the academic year.
It was presented to house representatives, Harry Kingswood and Kathryn Storr.
Martin Brown addressed an appreciative audience at the awards, where he paid tribute to the way the students had coped with all of the changes that had taken place in just two years to transform two former failing schools in the town into the now thriving Louth Academy.
“The trust has ensured that both sites are now places that the students can take great pride in,” he said.
“The results of the improvements are stunning on both sites and represent a commitment to children’s education in Louth that was desperately needed.”