Meet Surbiton High School's WOHAA Angels
Over the course of 2014-15 academic year the a team of Surbiton High School pupils, a group of year 10 students including Ciara Lynch, Emily Wight, Sacha Eyles-Owen, Georgina Penney and Anna McKeon collectively known as the WOHAA Angels, took part in the Wings of Hope Achievement Award. This is a national award scheme which involves students raising money for the education of children less fortunate than ourselves in India and Malawi. The team explain the work they undertook throughout the year, how they became runners up at the awards, and what this means to them.
During the project we held many exciting and creative events in order to fundraise for this worthy cause, but our particular favourite had to be the bike-a-thon that we held in Kingston Market Place, in which we cycled the equivalent distance across Malawi and back, which amounts to a huge total of 200 miles. We raised £300 from donations from the public at this event and we also raised a huge amount of awareness as passers-by in this busy location enquired about our fundraising and what we do and were indeed very impressed by the idea of “students helping students”. However, what probably made this bike-a-thon so special was the large amount of involvement and participation from members of the community, who enthusiastically joined in the fun and helped us cycle the 200 miles.
Along with a non-stop 10-hour cycle-a-thon at school, volunteering at our local church, pop-up stalls in our community, a 24-hour famine and numerous delicious cake sales, WOHAA was a huge success for us and in total we raised £2300, an amount which we are extremely proud of and know will have a massive impact on the children in India and Malawi.
WOHAA is a national competition, and as we progressed through the stages, firstly submitting a scrapbook of all our work, then giving a presentation to a group of extremely well-esteemed judges at the House of Lords, including Sir David Jason, and lastly attending the Awards Night at the Royal College of Surgeons, we wondered how far we could get. Sitting down in the hall at the final awards ceremony, we were all shaking with nerves, biting our fingernails as we waited to see whether we had received an award. Finally, as the anticipation rose for the announcement of the overall winners and the room fell so silent you could hear a pin drop, the moment we had all been hoping for arrived and the speaker read out: “Overall Runners Up-WOHAA Angels”! We were thrilled and could not hide our excitement, especially as this award meant that we would be taking a once in a lifetime trip to India, visiting children we have raised the money for. We are now in the process of organising this trip, and still in a little shock, and whilst we know that we have still have to raise some further money in order to actually go on this trip, we are all extremely excited and cannot wait to meet these inspiring children, who want nothing more than to go to school.
For us, WOHAA has been a life-changing experience and has taught us things about ourselves and others that we may never have learnt; over the long hours spent working hard together to brainstorm and organise events, we have improved our team-work skills and have improved our leadership and followership abilities. As well as this, we have developed our communication skills through contacting corporate sponsors and other businesses, have enhanced our entrepreneurial skills through the selling of goods and the organising of events to ensure we make a profit, and have also improved our persistence; despite facing many challenges that at first seemed impossible to overcome, we powered through and did not at any point give up or lose sight of our ultimate goal, of helping unlock the key to a better future for these children.
Overall, Wings of Hope has been an absolutely amazing experience for us and we would strongly recommend anybody who is considering it, to take the chance and go for it because you honestly will have a super time taking part and will take a lot away from it at the end.