Melania Greentree, a year 11 student at The Henry Cort Community College, has become the first student to be awarded a Heritage Honours Award from Hampshire County Council.
The award is designed to celebrate the significant linguistic, cultural and religious achievements of children and young people that are not ordinarily recognised by
Arriving from Ukraine and speaking very little English just 18 months ago, Melania has not only achieved the highest possible grade in her Russian GCSE but also her a grade 6 in her Citizenship exam, and extensively helped other students whose first language is not English.
Melania said moving from Ukraine to Fareham was like ‘moving to another planet’.
She said: ‘At first I was genuinely scared to talk to others – I thought they would judge me for using wrong words or my pronunciation.
‘My school has been quite supportive. They hired a Russian-speaking lady to guide me through GCSE system, since I knew absolutely nothing about it.
‘I am delighted to receive this award from Hampshire County Council.’
Mum Hanna says she is ‘so very proud’ of her 15-year-old daughter – and credits the school with setting her on the path to becoming a model pupil.
The 42-year-old said: ‘She didn’t even tell me she had been nominated. I found the paperwork and she was like ‘oh you have to sign that’. She is extremely humble and doesn’t like talking about her achievements.
‘I was so proud – I didn’t expect at all. In Ukraine, she was not so interested in going to school and getting good grades. She didn’t want to go to school really. But since she came to Henry Cort, I look at her and she’s a different person. She’s become very goal orientated.
‘I don’t know what they have done to her – but it’s fantastic.’
Claudia Cubbage, principal of Henry Cort Community College, said she is ‘delighted’ that a school pupil is the first to win the award and Melania ‘thoroughly deserves’ the accolade.
She said: ‘I am extremely proud of Melania, she is a model student who has strived hard, not only with her own studies but has willingly given support to others.’
Melania has been presented with a certificate and specially engraved pens to commemorate her hard work.
Schools across Hampshire can nominate pupils to be recognised by the award, with no limit to the number of awardees.