Emily, 18, excelled despite tragic loss
An exceptional drama student who lost both of her parents while studying for her A-levels has been commended for her determination and bravery.
Emily Steele, 18, of Wigston, is a nominee for the Leicester Mercury Young Achiever Awards 2012.
The former Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College pupil was put forward by staff at the school.
In November 2010, Emily's mum, Celesta, lost her battle with cancer.
The following April, her father, Mark, died from motor neurone disease.
Despite the traumatic loss, Emily's teachers said she remained focused and finished her A-levels, getting a B and two Cs.
Emily, who is now on a gap year, said: "I'd been through a really tough time – I had a lot of bad stuff going on in my head, as well as emotionally, and I thought I could either channel my energy into something positive or destructive, so I used drama.
"My dad was my hero. He was so upbeat and nothing would get his spirits down.
"When my mum was ill he would do his best to make us laugh – he was amazing."
Her former teacher, Sharron Brannen, nominated Emily for the Arts Achievement award in recognition of numerous outstanding performances during her time at the college.
She said: "Despite experiencing the most traumatic thing to happen to any child, Emily chose to channel her energies into performance, which she loves.
"She was incredibly mature and used her emotions in her performance work. She remained joyful, energetic and buoyant.
"Emily is a terrific performer and the most positive person I know.
"She is a credit to the college and her late parents would be so proud of her."
Emily said she was looking at possible careers in the arts but had not ruled out university.
She said: "I'd love to do something related to drama, but it's whether there's anything out there and whether I can make a living from it."
The Arts Achievement category has been sponsored by Market Bosworth High School.
Principal John Hemingway said: "As a school, we pride ourselves on an atmosphere that says its okay to be involved.
"This is true across the whole ability and subject range and is particularly true of the arts.
"Arts, dance, drama, music – all provide our pupils with a forum to showcase what they can do. They display maturity, confidence and skill that is well above their years.
"By sponsoring an art award, we are given another opportunity to celebrate the skills and abilities of young people we are all privileged to work with."