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A Leicester student has been recognised for his bravery after delivering an “inspiring and profound speech” to his peers, which saw him reveal his LGBT identity.

Simeon Mehay, 16, was awarded the ‘Young Braveheart of the Year’ award, at this years’s Lord Lieutenant’s Young Person of the Year’ awards, which took place earlier this week at County Hall.

Picture: Leicestershire County Council

The student, who attends Lancaster Academy, was one of five winners on the night, in categories which also included ‘Young Leader of the Year’, won by 18-year-old Yuvraaj Dhugga from Leicester, and ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’, won by Loughborough’s Frances Miller, 18.

The Lord Lieutenant’s ‘Young Person of the Year’, was named as musician Sebastian Carrington, 16, from Hinckley, who has already achieved diplomas for singing, piano, music theory and organ.

Simeon (pictured above), was given his award for bravery after delivering a speech, as part of his English speaking and listening assessment, which his nominator described as ‘the most inspiring and profound speech’ she had heard in all her years of teaching.

“Not only was the teenager presenting to his peers in a third language, but he was sharing with his class something that was deeply personal”, she explained.

“Simeon was assigned female at birth but always felt this label did not truly express who he was.

“Slowly but surely, he bravely started to share his identity with the adults around him who he felt he could trust.
The day of the speech was the day he finally felt ready to share his truth with the world.

“The speech was eloquent, honest, and brave and had a profound effect on his class. Not only did Simeon share who he was, but he taught his peers an important lesson”.

His nominator felt that every child in the class that day left a better, kinder, more open-hearted version of themselves.

Since then, Simeon has supported his peers in the LGBT society tirelessly, has lead the student LGBT ambassadors in school and has delivered powerful training to the school staff on LGBT issues.

This years’ awards evening and dinner was hosted by the Lord-Lieutenant Mike Kapur supported by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant and his Deputy Lieutenants Mrs Sally Bowie and Mrs Diana Brooks MBE, who were also involved in judging the awards.

The Special Achievement award was given to Paarth Acharya of Leicester who attends Brockington High.

The 16-year-old was recognised for his efforts to motivating and uplifting his community during the COVID-19 pandemic, by collaborating with a number of organisations such as Nupur Arts to hold workshops and provide entertainment via zoom.

Picture: Leicestershire County Council

Mr Kapur said: “As Lord-Lieutenant, I’m privileged to be able to meet some of our city and county’s extraordinary young people and see truly humbling examples of volunteering, community engagement, and personal achievement which require dedication and commitment of the highest order. 

“It is a privilege for me to be able to recognise and reward our young people this evening and share their stories of bravery, creativity, strength of spirit and selflessness that should be an inspiration to us all.

“Too often the achievements of young people go unnoticed by the wider community, so I hope that these awards will help to showcase some of the remarkable work going on across Leicester and Leicestershire that deserves recognition.

“These awards continue to highlight the talents and dedication of our communities’ young people and we look forward in anticipation to the 2023 awards”.

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