Northampton Saints star Will Hooley celebrated the achievement of pupils from schools across the county at the Northamptonshire Children’s University Graduation Ceremony.
The Children’s University is part of the University of Northampton’s schools engagement offering and has partnered with 40 schools throughout the county to celebrate learning participation through after-school clubs, sports clubs, arts clubs and tourist attractions for five to 14-year-olds.
Each child that joins the scheme receives a ‘Passport to Learning’ to record their learning hours and once they complete a minimum of 30 hours,
They are invited to an ‘Undergraduate’ Graduation Ceremony. To encourage them to progress, the scheme also offers a ‘Postgraduate’ level (430 to 800 hours) and a ‘Doctorate’ Level (830 – 1,000 hours).
This year’s ceremony took place at the University of Northampton’s Park Campus on Wednesday, April 22.
Having been involved in rugby from the age of five, Will Hooley gave an inspiring talk to the children, sharing his experience of training with his hero Jonny Wilkinson and playing for the England Under 18s and 20s international team.
Tim Hodey, Children’s University Lead from the University of Northampton, said: “The Children’s University is about motivating children, having fun with learning and encouraging engagement in extra-curricular activities. By bringing children onto the University campus and giving them the opportunity to celebrate their achievements whilst wearing the Children’s University graduation gowns; it helps to raise their aspirations and open their eyes to new ways of learning.
“It was great to have Will Hooley come along to talk to the children as he was around their age when he decided to get involved in rugby, which is now his full-time career.”