TALENTED teenager Bartek Wawrykov is in the running for an award – just six years after arriving in the UK unable to speak any English.
The 18-year-old from Krakow in Poland, and now a Hartlepool resident, has developed into a keen artist. He is now on an animated visual effects degree course at Teesside University.
“I had no English at all. I can only describe it as a completely new country in which I did not know anyone. It was about six months before I could understand the language but I still couldn’t speak it very well, and I didn’t want to say anything in case I said it wrong.”
But back in 2009, he arrived in England for the very first time when he followed his mum Marzena Kurzak who came over to become a machine operator in a factory.
And on his first day at The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road in Hartlepool, he had no knowledge of the language or what anyone else was saying.
“I only knew how to say hello,” said Bartek who has been nominated for a Hartlepool Mail Best of Hartlepool award by his former school for his development and his outstanding talent.
He praised Martyrs teacher Abbie Harrison for helping him in his early days. Bartek said: “I had no English at all. I can only describe it as a completely new country in which I did not know anyone.
“It was about six months before I could understand the language but I still couldn’t speak it very well, and I didn’t want to say anything in case I said it wrong.”
Now, England is a very different place for Bartek, who has already won one award during his time at English Martyrs. “Now, I would say that, while I am happy to come from Poland originally, I never want to move from here.”
The nomination came from English Martyrs and said: “He quickly caught the imagination of the art department with his creativity, ambition and commitment to be the best.”
Teachers described him as hungry for new information but also “one who is continually humble and appreciative of the help that he receives”.
Last year, he got four A-levels including graphic design and photography and 3D design.
Now he’s moved on to study at Teesside University. He becomes the latest entry in our competition but we want to hear from many more worthy causes.
People have until April 10 to nominate by either filling in the form in today’s paper, or visiting the nomination website HERE.