The importance of leadership in changing times was emphasised at a college prize-giving which marked a first term in charge for its new principal.

Matt Waterfield said leaders would play a key role in the country’s future and that Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, which is the most successful state secondary school in Tyneside, was preparing students to take on leadership roles in society.

“At the heart of what we do as a college is encouraging all our students to develop the skills, character and attitude needed to be a servant hearted leader,” he said.

He added: “Leadership in itself is not a virtue. Many people use their influence for themselves, not for others. Many have used power and strength to harm and not heal.”

Mr Waterfield described his own first term as “hugely rewarding” and “a considerable privilege”, and he paid tribute to Jonathan Winch, who was principal for 12 years, for his wisdom and commitment.

Mr Waterfield said: “Tonight is an opportunity to recognise the part that every single one of us plays in the Emmanuel family.”

The college’s annual Presentation Evening, held at The Sage Gateshead, opened with a storm sound scape and performance of the song Africa by the school choir and One Voice vocal group.

After a tribute to The Queen, the packed audience of students, staff, parents and guests, watched a video retrospective of the year and scenes from the college production of Oliver! staged earlier this year with Rebecca Charlton as Nancy and Jack Manning as Fagin.

Music came from the college’s string quartet MERV and the orchestra, conducted by student Alexander Walls.

Awards were presented for academic performance, music and drama, sport and a range of subject prizes for special achievement.

The premier Vardy Award for Excellence went to Holly Ip, described by Mr Waterfield as: “She represents all round excellence and achievement across the life of the college and is one of the top students in her year for academic achievement.

“She came back from work experience with a glowing report, she is on the college netball team but is better known as a musician, she is in the choir, is an accomplished pianist and everyone who has taught her this year is full of praise for her.”

The guest speaker was entrepreneur and business investor David Gillam, who called for society to accept that children could learn from losing and taking risks.

“One of the things that worries me is that we are bringing up a generation to be afraid to lose. We seem to be telling children that taking a risk is wrong.

“Losing can be a very powerful motivator if it’s used properly. We need to learn to lose and learn how to learn from losses and not be protected from ever losing because you will lose more often than you win,” he told students.

“I want to encourage all young people to dream and that you have the right to your dreams. None of us has the right to have our dreams fulfilled and none of us has the right to trample on other people’s dreams. The only one who can stop you achieving your dreams is you. Once you have a dream you have to do something about it.”

Sports awards:
Victor ludorum: Thomas Boyer, Samuel Gorman, Cameron Mather, Ian Griffiths.
Victrix ludorum: Isabelle Eddy, Anna Burbridge O’Flaherty, Amelia Bateman, Jessica Watts
Senior rugby player of the year: Cameron Nyembega
Hockey player of the year: Jannah Uddin
Senior netball player of the year: Amy Feetham
The Boath Minute: Reece Dunlop and Olivia Ewart
The Lloyd Medal: Matthew Cornish and Anna Kay
Sportswoman of the year: Katie Cuthbertson
Sportsman of the year: Matthew Cornish
Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award: Matthew Bell, Adam Bradford, Serena Chisty, Jack Foley, Roxanne Hall, Alexander Ip, Michael Iveson, William Lacey, Navraj Lalli, Ethan Langford, Matthew Lofthouse, Matthew McTeer, Aaron Nagra, Govind Pannu, Tom Roberts, Zoe Taylor, Joseph Wallace, Alexander Walls.

Special prizes:
Halima Zaman, Noah Charlton, Taylor Leck, Emmanuella Ajayi, Stella Blackman, Holly Ip, Peace Fashanu, Phoebe Tomlinson, Holly Dowling, Charlotte Sefton, Dawid Adamowicz, Britney Jarvis, Adam Bradford, Tilly Softly, William Todd.

Major awards:
Outstanding sportsperson of the year: Sophie Merrix
The Chairman’s short story award: Samuel Gorman
The John Laing Community ServiceTrophy: Rebecca Pittman-Wood
The Albert Dicken Award for Business Studies: Caitlin Northey
The Onyx Cup for Technology: Jessica Saunders

Premier Awards:
The Wiecek Cup: Katie Milmore
The Derek Tams Award: Kamile Nazir
Harlie Gilbertson Endeavour Award: Kelsey Black
The Vardy Award for Excellence: Holly Ip
The House Cup: Corinthians