Students from Paddington Academy reported from the red carpet as some of the biggest names in music, film and world politics arrived at the very first We Day UK. The students, taking part in the BBC School Report programme, were joined at Wembley Arena by some 12,000 others from across the country.
We Day is an initiative by international charity and educational partner, Free The Children, that aims to inspire young people. It is part of a year-long school citizenship programme for schools called We Act, which empowers young people to turn their inspiration into tangible results by engaging in local and global actions.
Speakers and performers at We Day included Prince Harry, singers Ellie Goulding and Jennifer Hudson, and the inspirational young education activist Malala Yousafzai. Paddington Academy School Report students were lucky enough to interview Ellie, Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger and Sir Richard Branson and We Day UK co-chair, Holly Branson.
Year 9 student Lirak Krasniqi said:
“It was fantastic to meet so many amazing and well-known celebrities and to interview them. Just being there was a thrill, but to be working with the BBC? Wow!
“Working with School Report is great fun and also a great learning experience as you learn many skills which can be applied to the real world. It was an amazing experience and I hope we can work with the BBC again soon!”
Year 9 student Ryan Wilson said:
“We were very excited to interview the talents of those such as Sir Richard Branson and Ellie Goulding. Meeting the celebrities was a great experience; and it was nice to see them in person, so down to earth, no different from us. We really enjoyed the ecstatic atmosphere inside the venue at we day UK, and can’t wait for the next one.”
Paddington Academy has very close ties to We Day, having hosted the launch event with Free The Children in January of this year. Year 8 students Yassine and Erika also addressed a dinner the evening before We Day, urging attendees to support Free The Children and earning praise from guests including Princess Beatrice and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in the process.
Paddington Academy Principal Oli Tomlinson said:
“The We Act programme has inspired a lot of debate and action at the academy. We have always supported a number of charitable causes but our students have been absolutely buzzing with ideas since we hosted the launch of We Day UK. Popular choices included Save the Children and Amnesty International, and we will be working closely with those organisations moving forward.”