After inspiring hundreds of Leeds pupils to success, Sheila Howarth more than deserved a treat.
The Leeds City Academy student progress leader and newly-crowned winner of the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Inspiring Teacher award has enjoyed a wardrobe makeover.
Sheila’s life-changing contribution to her pupils was marked by the heartfelt nominations sent from current and former pupils supporting her after we asked YEP readers to tell us about their most inspiring teachers.
She has spent 18 years transforming the fortunes of pupils at the Woodhouse institution, helping many hard to reach youngsters fulfil their potential.
Her efforts have seen her commended by the YEP and invited to the Simple Be White Rose Shopping Centre store this week to spend £250 on clothes for the new school term.
“I didn’t know I had made such an impression on the students,” she said. “The response I had on Facebook has been spectacular I never realised people knew me or if they liked me. I am so overwhelmed by it all. At least I know I have made a difference in young people’s lives.”
Her long service to the pupils of Leeds City Academy has not clearly gone unnoticed, and a special treat was the least she warranted.
Amber Wilson, sales manager at Simply Be, said: “Sheila is a shining example of a local hero so we wanted to give her wardrobe a special makeover for the new term.”
Despite many of the youngsters she works with facing significant barriers, Ms Howarth was praised for bringing the best out of pupils.
Former pupil Neide Campino said Sheila helped to transform her life. Having moved from Portugal, she did not speak a word of English and fell into the wrong crowd. She has since gone on to secure a law degree at university.
She said: “I became a lost cause, a troubled kid, disrespectful and unbearable. But Mrs Howarth, regardless of my actions, always believed in me and encouraged me to do better.”
‘SHE WAS LIKE A MOTHER’
Another former pupil at Leeds City Academy who was helped by Sheila Howarth was Ravelle Thomas.
In her nomination, she said that Sheila recognised that she had a creative talent and pushed her to achieve her potential.
She said: “She has had a major positive influence on my life. I found guidance, friendship, discipline and love in one person – she was like a mother.”
With the encouragement of Mrs Howarth, Ravelle went on to achieve a first class honours degree in media and performance.
She added: “She is truly an exceptional person.”