Two teenagers win award for volunteering work

Miriam Zegeye, left, and Rachel Nigriello

Miriam Zegeye, left, and Rachel Nigriello

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

TWO teenagers have been honoured with an award in memory of Princess Diana for their volunteering work.

Oxford High School pupils Miriam Zegeye, 17, and Rachel Nigriello, 18 have both won the Diana Award.

The award is for young people who demonstrate “compassion and selfless contributions” to their community.

Miss Zegeye, from Jericho, Oxford, volunteers in the geriatric ward at the city’s John Radcliffe Hospital and has helped out at the Order of St John home on Cowley Road.

The A-Level pupil, who also represents the school in the Oxfordshire Youth Parliament, said: “It is really enjoyable.

“Working with old people can be so much fun, most of them have lived through the Second World War and they have lots of stories to tell.

“I was honoured to have won the award. It’s funny to be singled out like that, but I couldn’t have been happier.”

Miss Nigriello, from Cumnor, currently volunteers and plays piano at the Isis Care Home, Cornwallis Road, Oxford, and at the Oxford Otters Club, a swimming group for the disabled and elderly.

Miss Nigriello said: “It sounds weird, but volunteering does make you feel that you’ve made a positive contribution to your community.

“In the home, many of the people often won’t remember you when you visit again, which is hard at first.

“But then you realise how even if they don’t remember you, you have made them happier in that one instance.”

They found out about the award when it was announced at a school assembly on the last day of the Christmas term. They have now both received a signed certificate from the Prime Minister.

Miss Nigriello said: “I was so surprised. I’d really obsessed about it, looking the awards up on the Internet, and I was convinced I hadn’t won.”

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Inspirational Young People was established in 1999 to act as a lasting memorial to Princess Diana.

The girls are now studying for their A-Levels and are both applying to university to study medicine.

Headteacher Judith Carlisle said: “We are all extremely proud of Miriam and Rachel.

“They are both truly inspirational role models and I am sure that this award will also encourage others to become involved in community work.”

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