Last year former pupil Melissa Johns was selected as one of JCI’s Ten Outstanding Young People for the UK and last month following a nomination to the World award she was selected as one of the ten honourees with the official title of ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World’.
These awards recognise Melissa’s work in changing perceptions of disability and working towards equality of disability in the world and especially in the arts. Despite being born with only one arm, from a young age Melissa was driven to be an actor. Overcoming many barriers to succeed in her chosen field, she has dedicated herself as an ambassador for individuals just like her. After working in a children’s ward at The Royal Free hospital school in London, she discovered her ability to relate to and encourage young people facing the same self-doubt she once did. This discovery led her to launch the Quite Frankly Theatre and co-found the TripleC organisation that uses theatre and drama based workshops to create diverse opportunities for young performers. Committed to creating impact, the message she conveys throughout her workshops is for young people to never hide what makes them different, because it is their differences that make them unique. Dedicated to overcoming the taboo of being disabled and in the limelight, she has started conversations and utilised her experiences to be a community advocate for equality.
Melissa was a JMHS pupil from 2001-2008, specialising in Drama and the Performing Arts in the Sixth Form and developing her skills as a promising young actress. Melissa at JMHS was an excellent student, working hard in all subjects to make the most of her abilities and improve her skills and was always kind, considerate and thoughtful to others.
Mr Andrew Evans, Headteacher, commented, ‘I have followed Melissa’s acting career with great interest and it has been wonderful to see Melissa’s skill as an actress develop and see her national recognition on stage and television. Her work inspiring young people in a similar position to herself to gain confidence, make the most of their abilities and succeed is inspirational, so all of us at JMHS are tremendously proud of Melissa.’
The award ceremony is at the JCI world congress in Goa, India at the beginning of November. Melissa is currently playing Emilia in OthelloMacbeth at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London so sadly is not able make the award ceremony for her ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World’ accolade.
More information here can be found by following this link, https://jci.cc/news/31865