Nobel prize winner at Harpenden school’s ceremony

NOBEL prize-winner Sir Martin Evans was the guest speaker and gave out subject prizes, certificates and awards at a school’s annual prize-giving ceremony.

Sir Martin, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, joined students at Sir John Lawes (SJL) School in Harpenden at the celebration of the work which has been done over the last 12 months.

Students who attended the event had excelled in a wide range of areas, from sport to performance to academic studies to supporting others, and were joined by their parents and siblings who were able to share in their success.

As well as honouring students, Sir Martin also presented long service awards to a number of staff who have been at the school for more than 10 or 15 years.

Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies.

In 2001 he was awarded the Albert Lasker Medal for Basic Medical Research and three years later he was knighted for his services to medical science. In 2007, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for, “ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals.”

Students, staff and their families were treated to a range of musical performances from the SJL Chamber Choir, Saxophone Ensemble and ex-student and jazz singer, Annabel Williams, who recently presented her own monthly show at Ronnie Scott’s in London.

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SJL headteacher, Claire Robins, said: “This is an important event for the school community as it is a chance for us to pause for a moment and celebrate the exceptional student achievements that take place throughout the year. We are also extremely fortunate to have a very passionate and dedicated team of staff and some of those were here tonight to receive long service awards.

“We were also very fortunate to be joined by Professor Sir Martin Evans. As a school with a science specialism and a reputation for excellence in this area it was an absolute joy for those who attended to be treated to a speech by such an eminent professor.”