Young performers from Durrington High School have earned a place in the national final of the 2018 Rock Challenge.
The school was one of four from the Herald and Gazette area competing at Portsmouth Guildhall last week in Rock Challenge and J Rock regional finals.
Performing Angel of Prisons in the southern premier final on Saturday, Durrington High was awarded third place and won nine awards of excellence.
Along with LeAF Studio School in Bournemouth and Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in Aylesbury, the school has been invited to compete at the 2018 Rock Challenge national final in July.
The events, organised by the Be Your Best Foundation, aim to inspire, engage and motivate young people to make healthy and positive lifestyle choices.
Baroness Ruth Henig, foundation patron, said: “As far as Rock Challenge is concerned, I think it is an amazing opportunity.
“For students of all ages and all abilities to get together and really gel and develop a sense of community while learning new skills. It’s just a phenomenal event and experience for them.”
Durrington High’s piece told the story of Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker who transformed the lives of thousands of prisoners. She featured on the back of the old £5 notes and her ideas on criminal justice are still practised today.
Deborah Myers, director of education and skills at West Sussex County Council, presented a prize and said: “There have been some absolutely marvellous performances, which is what one comes to expect from an evening with premier schools performing, but the colour, vibrancy and enthusiasm shown by the students has been absolutely first class and if I was a judge, I would find it extremely difficult to pick a winner from all these marvellous productions.”
The Angmering School performed The Dark Side of the Rainbow in the southern open final B on Friday and was awarded fifth place, along with ten awards of excellence.
The piece explored the story behind the making of The Wizard of Oz, including the original Tin Man’s allergic reaction to the aluminium body paint, the Wicked Witch becoming badly burned in a stunt and the near starvation of Dorothy.
Baroness Ruth said: “As ever, the evening has been a brilliant collection of moving stories, told vividly. There’s so much emotion, for which Rock Challenge has now become so well known, and I love every minute of it.”
Roger Oakley, vice-chairman of West Sussex County Council, presented a prize and said: “The artistry and dance is as professional as anything you would see on the West End, it’s very, very impressive.”
Rustington Community Primary School and Orchards Junior School in Worthing competed in the Southern J Rock final on Wednesday.
Rustington was awarded fifth place for its piece Remember and won seven awards of excellence, while Orchards Junior School won six awards of excellence.
Ian Readhead, vice-chairman of the foundation, said: “The standard is just tremendous and the amount of work and enthusiasm that’s gone into this from all the participants, the teachers, and those who support is terrific.”