Two St Albans pupils who give a big helping hand to staff and their peers are in a competition that showcases the achievements of young people in Hertfordshire.

Hannah Festenstein and Hannah Roberts, both pupils at Marlborough Science Academy, spend time encouraging and coaching other pupils at the Watling Street school and also give invaluable support to PE teacher Stacey Rickhuss.

Now Ms Rickhuss has nominated both them for Smith Milne Young People of the Year (YOPEY) with £2,000 in cash prizes.

This competition marks the 10th anniversary of YOPEY and the place where it all began with a competition in Royston in 2005.

Ms Rickhuss, PE teacher with responsibility for dance, nominated 16-year-old Hannah Festenstein for the way that she steps out to help others.

She said: "She is like a second dance teacher, she is a valuable right-hand asset. Hannah is a role model academically, physically, and creatively.

"All the girls look up to her, and she does it all with a smile."

Now in the sixth-form Hannah has supported students taking their GCSEs by helping them with their dance roles.

She choreographed most of the dancing in the school's annual productions ¬ We Will Rock You, Curse You Shakespeare, Singin' in the Rain, and Romeo and Juliet ¬ for the past four years.

In summer last year she was one of 20 pupils from the school who went on a month-long expedition to the poor country of Honduras in Central America.

The pupils each had to raise £4,000, which they did by car boot sales, selling cakes, bag packing and cars washing. Hannah also sold some paintings she had done herself and hand-made bracelets.

The trip included working on a farm for five hours a day planting crops and looking after animals. They trekked and camped in a national park where they learned about the environment and had a break on an island.

Hannah said: "I very much enjoy working with the school production. There's a lot of talent. I like to encourage the pupils and see them boost their confidence."

Hannah called the Honduras trip life-changing, with the pupils learning new skills and developing themselves.

She said: "It opened my eyes to see that there's so much more to the world, particularly the poverty."

Fourteen-year-old sports-mad Hannah Roberts, of Watson's Walk, attends a variety of extra-curricular sporting events, to improve her own skills and represent the school. She also coaches and leads younger pupils.

Hannah plays football, netball, badminton cricket and rounders. She volunteers for a number of roles ¬ umpiring, refereeing, coaching, and managing teams, even writing reports of matches.

Ms Rickhuss said: "In a few years time I worry for my job because she could be doing it.

"She is good at sport, but what makes her outstanding is her commitment to empathy, enthusiasm and leadership skills. She is so responsible."

Hannah said she helps younger pupils train for rounders and generally helps different sports events after school.

` Last summer she and friend Tiggy Harris went on a 36-mile sponsored bike ride from St Albans to Hatfield to raise £200 for the GB Women's Deaf Football Team.

"I have always liked riding a bike leisurely but because was longer we practised.

"But we still felt exhausted afterwards though happy to have raised the money."

To nominate someone who deserves the title Young Person of the Year, visit: or write, enclosing a stamped-addressed-envelope, to YOPEY, Woodfarm Cottage, Bury Road, Stradishall, Newmarket CB8 8YN for a paper entry form.