CHILDREN from across York and North Yorkshire were rewarded for their work out of school with a special graduation ceremony.

The achievements of 125 children from 30 local schools have been recognised at the York Children’s University Graduation ceremony at the University of York.

The children aged 5-14 have completed between 30 and 530 hours of extra-curricular activity as part of the Children’s University Passport-to-Learning scheme led by employee-volunteering charity York Cares.

Professor Matt Matravers hosted the ceremony, whilst the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Sonja Crisp, assisted him in awarding the children with their scrolls.

The young learners have participated in events at a host of venues including museums, libraries, city attractions, music and sports clubs, as well as working with local businesses to bring the real world to life.

Holly Hennell, acting manager at York Cares, said: “York Children’s University is all about exciting and educating children and boosting their aspirations through extra-curricular activities. We’ve had two 'Law and Justice' days hosted by North Yorkshire Police where pupils stage a mock trail, Robots in Space workshops led by physics students from University of York for children to create their own curiosity rovers, and a family ‘mini-beasts’ workshops led by Flamingo Land.

“Looking forward, we are delighted to be working on new modules with John Lewis and First Bus, and York St John will host a new Summer Festival. This festival will recognise children who have gone on to reach their next award levels, and showcase opportunities for them to try new activities and continue to develop new skills.”

Local theatre school, Razzamataz York, kicked off the evening’s celebration with a musical theatre routine showcasing the energy and enthusiasm of children involved with the scheme. Eliza Hunton, a University of York student volunteer, performed a reading of ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ by Dr Seuss to capture York CU’s aim of encouraging a sense of curiosity and excitement about the world. Eliza worked with pupils from St Barnabas Primary this year to deliver a York CU Retail Module where children designed their own shops.

Elizabeth Wright, Paralympic champion, author and motivational speaker, shared her inspirational story of reaching her goals. She said: "When I was asked to be the guest speaker at the York Children's University Graduation Ceremony I could only say yes! To see the amazing work they do with children, to help build their confidence and vision for their futures, it resonates with my own goals to help children see and fulfil their potential."