Making others feel empowered is about fostering an environment of trust and recognition.

When you provide others with a platform to be recognised, it can help create new paths or just give others a sense of reward.

Our 2019 Rock Star Awards were held at the O2 Bournemouth during March, with an initiative to put the spotlight on a younger audience with incredible talent and resilience.

Let’s take a look at the experience, from the perspective of three of this years’ winners.

 

What It Truly Means To Be A Rock Star Winner

“It feels incredible to receive this recognition for the efforts I have put in,” says Oliver Cooper, this year’s Teaching Star winner. A 25 year old with a self-defined unwavering dedication to his pupils at Shaftsbury School, Oliver understands the importance of being a role model to others.

As someone who aims to overcome diversity, and has so far succeeded, Oliver became the mould of a perfect Rock Star Winner:

“I work hard like everyone else in this profession, but knowing what I am doing is being appreciated in the community is an amazing feeling. I gained a massive amount of respect after winning, making all the late nights and hours of work feel worthwhile.

“I don’t need applause for what I do, but the respect from those around me now is lovely.”

Tasha Clarke, winner of our Creative Star award, shares this strong mentality too.

From working a Saturday job in her mum’s Bridal shop, Tasha knew she wanted more, demonstrating the drive our Rock Star Winners all share:

“There is a lot of pressure for young people to figure out what they want in life, let alone do well. Winning this award was a lovely confirmation that things are heading in the right direction.

“Being noticed is a real honour, and representing Rock Star Awards was fantastic.”

Inspirational Star Tom Douris has a story nothing short of exceptional. Diagnosed with arthritis at the tender age of 8 in every joint in his body, life “sucked”. This predetermined disadvantage had affected his life for years, but at 8 years old the arthritis burned out. However it left lasting damage which resulted in two hip replacements before the age of 25. It’s fair to say that Tom has far succeeded his peer’s expectations in life:

“I feel like I have never been listened to or believed in throughout my life, but when I was nominated for this award it felt like I was given a voice.

“It’s given me hope in my future and the want to help others along the way. Even though I have had arthritis, there is still a massively bright light at the end of the tunnel.”

 

A Behind The Scenes Look At The Ceremony

The evening is always much more than a quick grab and dash. It is a celebration of success where all of our winners and nominees are treated with the upmost respect and given a star-studded reception they each deserve for their achievements:

“It is a really beautiful event in a wonderful venue. The atmosphere was full of energy too, and with everyone being in black tie it felt very professional,” explains Oliver.

“For someone who spends all their time working in a classroom, going to an event like that was so different. The efforts that had gone into it, especially with the vibrant and energetic community mural made the place look fantastic.”

Tom and Tasha agree: “It was an amazing experience getting to know everyone there, all the nominees and everyone’s stories about how they got where they are today. The evening couldn’t have gone any better, and winning the award couldn’t have meant more to me.

“Everything was fantastic, smiles lit up the room.”

 

Looking Into The Future

 Oliver has a clear vision of what it means to be a successful teacher, something he intends to push forward into his career: “To understand a pupil’s progression you need to understand the pupil. It’s about knowing what makes them tick.”

“As a newly qualified teacher I need to finish my induction period, but after that my main focus is to become a better teacher. There is still so much I can learn and I’m eager to enjoy those experiences.

“Having the award makes what I’m doing feel so worthwhile, and I am now in a position to push forward in my field. I am soon taking on older students, so I can teach the kids I’ve watched grow through school.”

“My life has become so much more than I ever imagined it could be at this age,” says Tasha.

“I’m making my first clients wedding dress which is an amazing thing to be able to say. By next year, I hope to be opening up my own store and taking it from there.”

For Tom, his obstacles have been anything but minor although this is no barrier for his mental strength. He’s storming through an Occupational Therapy degree at Bournemouth University:

“I want to network with people in the Bournemouth area and whizz through my business plan, to share ideas and support each other in the healthcare and therapy fields. I am looking to volunteer too, and help others with arthritis or similar muscular-skeletal conditions.”

 

Ensuring Success of Future Generations

 As someone who has produced exceptional work in their field of expertise, Oliver had some helpful words to offer to potential Rock Award nominees:

“If you’re thinking about these awards, I would encourage you to go for it. I was tentative about it at the start, but the guidance and support given to you by Rock Star Awards team throughout the process is priceless. It is an amazing thing for someone to do, no matter where you are in your career.”

Tasha wants to instil the self-belief she has in young Rock Star hopefuls:

“To feel the gratitude from someone else just by being recognised is such a special experience. You should give it a go. Ignore the doubt in your head and just go for it, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.”

Tom also has some important words for those who desire to be more than they are today. Amidst what seemed at times endless obstacles, he has powered through the other side, achieving greatness incomparable to the expectations of others:

“The whole process has been unforgettable. I felt like I’d won just being listened to, the award was the icing on the cake.

“This award has really given young people like me a better name, to show there are young people who want to make a difference in life.”

Being a Rock Star is not just in your actions professionally, but in the person you are.

Despite the challenges you face in life, it is the way you overcome them that counts. The progress they made in such a short amount of time is what makes these three people exceptional.