A talented team of students has scooped second place in the finals of the national dance competition. Students and staff from West Lakes Academy in Egremont are celebrating after their success at the Be Your Best Rock Challenge National Final on July 14 2018.

Out of over 300 schools, including 20,000 participants, the WLA group were awarded the second place position – continuing their title as reining Northern Premier Champions! Nine schools from across the whole of the UK had won through their qualifying events. The national final took place at Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. In addition to West Lakes Academy they came from Dorset, Buckinghamshire, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kinross-shire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Aberdeenshire

The team’s performance was called Strike. Protest. Revolt. Red October.

‘In 1917 Russia the people of Russia were struggling to survive – brought to their knees by starvation and ignorance of the monarchy. Workers forced to strike. Thousands protested – met with a shower of bullets that only fuelled their anger. Will they be able to force change and end a 300 year dynasty? Or will they die in this bid to survive?’

Rock Challenge lead teacher Jenny Whitaker said she was extremely proud of the pupils.

“I don’t think we would have won if we hadn’t had so much support from parents, staff, people within the community and the dedication of the students,” she said

Speaking after the finals, she added: “We are absolutely thrilled with our National Final success. To compete in the National Final was enough but to come away with second place was the icing on the cake for our 2018 journey. We cannot thank everyone enough for their support all year and also their well wishes and congratulations”

The school also received awards of excellence in: soundtrack, entertainment, visual enhancement, performance skill, concept, set design and function, costuming

The performance was extremely strong and evocative, utilising amazing set choices that fluidly and professionally moved around the stage, creating the backdrop for dramatic performance from the streets of St Petersburg to a recreation of the storming of the Royal Palace. Judges stated that the piece was ‘incredible’ and that they really enjoyed it. They also praised the clear passion within the piece including performers, set and costume. ‘Emotions were clearly high throughout this educated and mature piece all the way through to its empowered finale’

Beth Walker, Year 12 student and main character of the event, said:

‘My highlight of the whole day was probably within these first nerve-wracking minutes– the team found a collaborative voice and channelled our passion and enthusiasm as one person started to sing ‘From Now On’ from the hit film ‘The Greatest Showman’. Before I knew it the entire team, including stage crew, were singing together as a team. After this, everyone was united and ready to smash the rehearsal– and we most certainly did! The standard was so extremely high and we knew that this was going to be a tough competition! Everyone was silent until…”West Lakes Academy!” was called. There was a roar of screams– everyone hugged and cried as were awarded 2nd place at The Rock Challenge National Final! It honestly felt like a dream come true!! I could not be prouder of the team and all of our hard work over these past 9 months!’