After a few knocks, Ivan is a champion

A YOUNG boxer with dreams of becoming a professional has secured his first belt.

Ivan Duniak, who is 17, was celebrating after a win in the 69kg weight class at the National Youth Championships in Rotherham.

The Priestley College student, who is working towards A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths and Electronics, defeated Michael Hennessey thanks to a split decision.

“He was big, but I was certain I could counter him quite easily because he was slower than me,” said Ivan, from Halton Brook in Runcorn.

“I’ve boxed for national titles before and missed out on decisions where I felt I had been unlucky so I’m really happy to get this one.”

His tactics of working hard to make Hennessey miss whilst also landing some clean hits of his own paid off.

It was a great moment for Ivan, who has previously sparred with WBO and Commonwealth light-middleweight title champion Liam Smith, and his coach Philly Roberts from Rotunda ABC.

Ivan’s Maths tutor Steve Nixon said: “It would probably be a surprise to anyone who knows Ivan that he is a boxer because he is quite a quiet lad.

“I think everyone in class enjoyed seeing his belt and wishes him well for the future.”

Ivan, whose twin brother also boxes, trains at least eight hours a week either in the gym, running or sparring.

The next step he wants to take is joining an England training camp.

“I obviously have to enjoy it to put all the work in and I do want to make it as a professional,” said Ivan.

Trust backs Ben’s race to the Paralympics

A STUDENT’S goal to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics has received support from his college’s charity.

Ben Callander, who is 16 and from Penketh, has been awarded £1,000 from the Priestley Education & Training Trust to help pay for the costs of travelling to Switzerland for two training camps this year.

“There are some fast tracks in Switzerland so I am looking to improve my time so that I can get funding from British athletics,” said Ben, who studies Public Services and English GCSE at Priestley.

“I need to knock about a second off my time and this money is going to help me continue the training I need to achieve that goal.”

Ben began wheelchair racing in 2013 after watching the sport at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Inspired by British wheelchair racer David Weir, he began training and then competing in the T33 classification – one of four categories for wheelchair athletes with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects independent movement.

Principal Matthew Grant said the Priestley Education & Training Trust was set up to help students like Ben.

“Not only is Ben doing well in his studies he is also striving to succeed on an international level in his chosen sport,” he said.

“PETT aims to support our students – both past and present – when they are in need whether that is to pursue academic or sporting excellence or simply to continue their education in some way.”

Ben’s condition means he requires a walking aid and wheelchair to get around, but he has not let this hold him back.

He trains at Victoria Park and at David Lloyd in Warrington whilst also putting in hours at home on rollers that act like a treadmill.

Next year he hopes to study Sport at Priestley College and aspires to become a coach himself one day.

If you would like to sponsor Ben to help him secure his goal of competing in the Paralympics, email

Voyage of discovery for historians

AN academic helped Priestley College students journey back in time to explore the exploits of early merchant adventurers.

Dr Tom Leng, from the University of Sheffield, visited Priestley to speak about some of the significant events of the 17th century.

His talk brought an extra voice to the History students’ Early Modern syllabus and also allowed them to ask questions about the period.

Topics included the Stuart economy and the beginnings of the British Empire.

“As well as it being a fascinating talk this was like a university experience for our students,” said Oliver Lister, Priestley’s Head of History.

“It was a lecture followed by questions and answers so really provided them with a sense of what university study will be like.”

Dr Leng became a History lecturer at Sheffield in 2005 having completed both his B.A. and Ph.D. at the university.

He previously taught at the University of Nottingham and worked on a number of projects at the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) at Sheffield.

Oliver said: “We are very grateful for Doctor Leng’s time and his talk, which added a new layer of understanding to this period for our students.”

Kerry-Ann gives Children’s Hearing Services new look

PRIESTLEY student Kerry-Ann Collar’s design has been chosen to become the new logo for the Cheshire Children’s Hearing Services Working Group (CHSWG).

Cheshire CHSWG are a working group made up of people representing all services involved with hearing impaired children and young people, including parents.

The budding student graphic designer, 17, has attended the Deafness Support Network’s (DSN) Youth Vibe group for 4 years in order to meet with other young people that are part of the Deaf community.

The group has a mixture of members, some deaf, some hearing and some who have parents that are deaf, like Kerry-Ann’s parents.

Youth Vibe provides youngsters the chance to participate in a wide variety of activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, volunteering programs and regular activities such as ice hockey and go-karting.

Alongside fun-filled activities, Youth Vibe also connects children with companies and organisations to collaboratively work on projects that may not otherwise be accessible.

So when an opportunity came up for service users to submit their designs for a new logo for the CHSWG, Youth Vibe encouraged Kerry-Ann to enter.

“I can’t believe that the CHSWG selected my logo,” she said. “I want to be a graphic designer once I have left college and I feel that this whole process has given me more confidence to really go for it!

“Without DSN and Youth Vibe, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to submit my design to the CHSWG. I feel like I have grown as a person, both personally and professionally.”

DSN offers a myriad of services to individuals in the local community who are personally affected by D/deafness and their youth offering – Youth Vibe – works solely with children and young adults in a number of ways.

“My parents definitely prefer communicating via BSL over lip reading,” she said. “Youth Vibe helped me achieve my Level One qualification, which is why I initially started coming weekly.

“It is a fantastic group for young people who are experiencing deafness, either themselves or through a family member. Everyone involved is focused on helping you make the most of your time and your skills and improving communication and interaction between D/deaf young people and hearing young people.”

Members from the CHSWG said; “Kerry-Ann’s design was brilliant and we are really happy to make it our new logo. We love it and we are confident Kerry-Ann has an incredibly bright future as a graphic designer.

The CHSWG are always looking for parents to become part of the group so if you are interested please get in touch via DSN.

For more information about the Deafness Support Network and Youth Vibe visit

A day for business in Manchester

Business students took part in the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments Career Insight Conference at BNY Mellon in Manchester.

The students were involved in a number of activities aimed at understanding roles in the financial services industry and how to secure a job.

The day consisted of a team challenge, speed networking with practitioners, apprentices and graduate trainees, a game that involved making profits from trading on stocks and a talk on what the industry looks for in new recruits.