AN INSPIRATIONAL Fermanagh schoolboy has been announced as the receipt of a Michaela Foundation Wings Award.

12-year-old Mark West from Maguiresbridge is a pupil at Jones Memorial Primary School, and is the first pupil from Jones Memorial to be awarded this award, in recognition of how much he helps others with technology at school.

He was very pleased with his award from the foundation when he was interviewed by The Impartial Reporter, with Mark saying that he and his mum both cried when the award was announced via an awards ceremony on Zoom virtual meetings last week.

Mark was one of three winners of the Michaela Foundation Wings Award for 11-13 year olds, that is awarded to young people who are motivators within their local community.

The Michaela Foundation is a foundation which runs initiatives for young people, inspired by the life of Michaela McAreavey (neé Harte). The activities of the Michaela Foundation will cease in 2021 after 10 years of operation.

Talking about his nomination, Mark said: “I was nominated by [teacher] Mr. Foy for kindness, and for helping people with technology [in school]."

Mark is a whizz kid with computers, and told this newspaper about how useful technology has been in the last year. He said: “Technology did help with the quarantine – when we were in quarantine, we had a [Zoom] meeting called ‘Friday Club’, and it was a pretty good team to be in.”

Mark enjoyed some celebrations with his family: “We had the kettle on and I had a celebratory orange juice.”

He hopes the award will help him to grow in confidence as he prepares to move to secondary school in September.

Award nominator Nick Foy, LSC teacher at Jones Memorial Primary School, said: “There is nothing that Mark can’t do in school; he’s the one person we go to see about ICT issues in school, and he just solves everything – and if he can't solve it, he’ll go home at night, Google and research it, and come in the next day and fix it!

"We've got our new interactive whiteboards in this week, and Mark’s been coming in and telling me new techniques, and how to use it all. He has just been so fantastic in looking up how to do things."

Mr. Foy continued and spoke of Mark’s popularity at the school. He said: “Mark’s known all the way from P1 to the upper end of the school; everyone knows Mark, and he just brightens everyone's day.

"He makes sure he says hello to everyone when he goes past them. He’s got so much time for everyone, and he's just such a kind-hearted, smart young man. We're so proud.”

Sandra Ishwerwood, Principal, added: “From when Mark joined our ASD class, he has overcome adversity to learn and share his skillsets.

“Mark is a kind and inspirational person, who has been a true example of being motivational and supportive to others.

“He will give up a lot of his free time to up-skill his peers and fellow pupils in using digital technology.

"It demonstrates the benefit to his educational journey in the LSC to allow him to shine,” added Mrs. Ishwerwood.

Mark will await the receipt of his award in the post soon, with the future looking bright for this helpful young man.