Can-do attitude key to Aden's award
It's hard to know what pleased Aden Young more: a trophy, a photo op with a footballer, or a high-five from the governor-general.
All three came part and parcel with a Frances Clarke Memorial Award, which recognises special achievement among children with Down syndrome.
Aden, 11, was presented with a trophy and a framed certificate by Wellington Phoenix striker Paul Ifill and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at a special ceremony at Government House yesterday.
Sir Jerry said Aden was clearly delighted to be honoured in front of his family and friends.
"I said to him, ‘Shall we do a high-five, mate?' And he went, ‘Yeah'."
Aden's father, Steve Young, said Aden was overjoyed with his award.
"He's been along so many times to watch other kids receive it, and now it's his turn. He'll get a lot of mileage off it."
The "sports-mad" St Brendan's School pupil had been nominated by his principal for his can-do attitude and his achievements in the classroom and on the sports field.
Mr Young said the decision to enrol Aden in a mainstream school had worked out well.
"Right from the day he was born, we decided that we were going to throw him out there.
"Society's got to deal with him and he's got to deal with society at some point.
"Nothing's ever a problem for him."
The awards, now in their 22nd year, are presented by the Wellington Down Syndrome Association.
Sir Jerry said they were an opportunity to recognise confidence, positivity, and determination to succeed in children with Down syndrome.
"You can see it in the eyes of these young people - the impact of getting an award, and the opportunity to meet people like Paul.
"And looking at the families, and seeing how pleased and proud they are - it's absolutely great."
Recognised alongside Aden in the junior category was Vanya Hope Reedy, 9, who was described as a good role model for her fellow students at the Holy Family School in Porirua East.
Two Rongotai College students were honoured in the senior category. Moses Siow, 15, received an award for his achievement in football, and Keegan Joe, 16, for progress made in communication skills.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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