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Top cadet Sgt Sarah Adegboyega wins Ben Kinsella Award for Islington’s rising star

PUBLISHED: 10:15 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:56 17 March 2017

Sgt Sarah Adegboyega, 17, outside City of London Academy Islington. Picture: Polly Hancock

Sgt Sarah Adegboyega, 17, outside City of London Academy Islington. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Sgt Sarah Adegboyega earned her stripes by constantly challenging herself and those around her to push their boundaries and develop their self-confidence.

Sarah Adegboyega, 17, with Sgt Maj Goatcher of City of London Academy Islington's Honourable Artillery Company. Picture: Polly Hancock Sarah Adegboyega, 17, with Sgt Maj Goatcher of City of London Academy Islington's Honourable Artillery Company. Picture: Polly Hancock

The 16-year-old is this year’s Ben Kinsella Award winner. It’s a special certificate given out alongside the annual Mayor of Islington’s Civic Awards to a young rising star from the borough.

Sarah has risen steadily through the ranks since joining City Academy Islington’s combined cadet force four years ago, and is now its most senior cadet.

The award is bittersweet. It’s named after promising student Ben, tragically and wastefully stabbed to death in 2008 as he innocently celebrated the end of his GCSEs.

Each year, Ben’s brave parents Debbie and George present the award at a special ceremony in Islington Assembly Hall, and last night’s bash was no exception.

Referring to Sarah, Sgt Maj Goatcher – administrator at the academy’s combined cadet force – told the Gazette: “She’s that role model a lot of them don’t have, and certainly as a senior female in the school she fulfils a big position.”

At last year’s Remembrance Sunday Service, Sarah paraded a contingent of 30 cadets from Highbury Corner to Islington Green. Their skill and professionalism won them high praise from members of the Honourable Artillery Company.

"She’s that role model a lot of them don’t have, and certainly as a senior female in the school she fulfils a big position"

Sgt Maj Goatcher

For the second parade, Sarah convinced a shy, less experienced cadet to take on the drill sergeant responsibility, and personally gave her the training and self-confidence to rise to the challenge.

Sgt Maj Goatcher added: “She’s always thinking about her peers or those under her and she’s always pushing them to succeed.”

Sarah has embraced every opportunity offered to her within the cadets, from leading first aid training for new recruits to directing a performance in front of Princess Anne.

But she revealed: “I’m quite a shy person.

“I knew the challenges in the cadets would push me out of my comfort zone and help me have more confidence in myself, and I’d get leadership qualities.”

She added: “It’s definitely done that.”

Ben Kinsella. Ben Kinsella.

Turn the page to read about the adult winners of this year’s civic awards.

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