Audley Harrison MBE Visits Walworth Academy
On Monday 18th of April we welcomed a very special visitor to our academy, former British professional boxer Audley Harrison MBE. With the exam season fast approaching, we decided our year 11 would benefit greatly from hearing some inspirational words from an Olympic champion. When Audley arrived he was greeted by the principal Yvonne Powell OBE, head boy and head girl. He spoke briefly stating how happy he was to be at the academy and how keen he was to meet the students. Audley was greeted by rapturous applause from our excited year 11 students as he entered the auditorium.
He began his speech by detailing his troubled youth. He mentioned how he has excluded from two schools, had a stint in a young offenders institution and Feltham prison before realising he had to turn his life around. He said despite what he had been through he believed, “I can still be who I want to be”. He then went on to talk about how he started in boxing at the age of 19 and how it was sheer determination and hard work that got him to the Olympics.
Audley also spoke about how the year 11s could attain examination success advising that “preparation is the key to success” and “if you tell yourself you can, you will”. He even quoted our very own head boy and head girl. We recently had an inspirational quote they wrote displayed on a wall at the Academy. He said “I saw this as I walked into you school this afternoon and it is spot on.” He read “Yesterday was your past, so learn from it. Today is the present, so own it. Tomorrow is your future, so write it”. He finished off by saying loudly, “dream big”.
The students were truly moved by Audley’s inspirational words. Our head boy said, “I couldn’t believe it when he quoted me. It was truly amazing having him here. He gave the whole year group a motivation push to strive for success in our GCSEs.” Another student stated, “I want to be a professional boxer when I get older. I was so nervous to speak to him. It was a once in a lifetime chance for me to get advice from a champion, I’ll never forget it”. Audley had the whole year group on the edge of their seats. We are sure his positive words will resonate with the whole year group for the rest of their lives.