Celebrating Black Academic achievement in Parliament
It was a great honour and a pleasure to be invited to the 6th Annual London Schools and The Black Child Academic Achievement Awards, sponsored by UBS and organised and hosted by Diane Abbott, MP at the House of Commons, on 30th September 2011.
Prior to the awards ceremony there was a good and welcome opportunity to mingle with the nominees, their friends and family, as well as dignatories such as David Lammy MP, Chuka Ummuna MP, Baroness Howells and Superintendent Leroy Logan MBE of the Metropolitan Police.
The awards were presented by a number of dignitaries including Darren Allaway, Managing Director, Global Family Office, UBS; John Amaechi, Psychologist and former US basketball star; Chuka Ummuna MP; Alan Wood, Director of Education, Hackney Council and Anthony Johnson, Jamaican High Commissioner.
Alan Wood commented, “Over the past six years in London, black children’s academic results have, contrary to popular opinion, been very good. This coincides with Diane Abbott’s LSBC initiative which has been running for six years.”
All delivered inspiring and motivational speeches following their announcement of winners in each category. It’s a cliché at awards to say everyone’s a winner, but on this night it’s hard to argue with that as there were so many stellar academic performances, from GCSE’s to ‘A’ levels, through to degree level qualifications.
Not only were the high number and excellent grades highly impressive, what stood out just as vividly was the fact that so many were so well-rounded students, not just geeks in books! Many were musicians and/or sportspeople playing for their school teams. These were students who certainly seemed to get the study-life-play balance right and this will stand them in good stead if they can strive to maintain that balance as they progress through academia and into the world of work, when the challenges and demands on your time can seem somewhat greater.
A full list of the Award Winners can be found here: http://www.blackeducation.info/awards/our-prizewinners.aspx
Amongst many highlights were:
Gabrielle Dunn : Winner of the GCSE Girls Category
Grades: 10 A*s, 3 As
School: Nower Hill High School, Pinner, Middlesex
Gaby has fully involved herself in school life, participating in a wide range of activities. As a sportswoman she has represented the school in a number of events with a high rate of success, including taking on the role of Captain of the netball team. She also won the school’s prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award, has been involved in the Gifted and Talented drama group, and was awarded the status of Deputy Head Prefect Year 11. She plays the piano and enjoys bike riding, going to the cinema and travel.
Solomon Roach: Winner of the GCSE Boys Category
Grades: 6A*s and 5As
School: Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, London W14
Solomon has combined a number of talents as a pupil at Cardinal Vaughan, working hard to achieve 6 A*s and 5As, whilst spending his spare time composing music, and playing the flute in the concert orchestra. Having done a work experience, Solomon has now set his sights on becoming a doctor, and is currently working hard outside the classroom to achieve this.
Jesse Moses: Winner of A-Level Boys Category
Grades: 3 A*s & 1A
School: Highbury Grove School, Islington, London
Jesse’s top A-level grades at Highbury Grove have not come easy, after a prolonged period of ill-health during year 12. Jesse used his time out due to ill-health to read widely, and eventually diagnosed his own illness. He began studying the chemical composition of his antibiotics and decided that Chemistry was the subject for him. Outside the hard work he has put in at school, Jesse is a keen athlete, often representing his school in athletics competitions. Has been offered a place to study at Christchurch College, Oxford.
Ifeanyi Odogwu: Winner of Higher Education Boys
Grade: First Class LLB Hons in Law
University: Kingston University
Attended the St Thomas The Apostle comprehensive school in Peckham. During his studies at Kingston University, he won a US Scholarship for a year’s study at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He has just completed one year Law School postgraduate training waiting to be called to the Bar of the Inner Temple.
This was a wonderfully inspiring event, moreseo this year than ever when set against the negative backdrop of coverage young people have had to endure during and following the August riots.
Attendees were treated to canapés and drinks on the terraces of the House of Commons. A rare treat indeed. I was honoured to be there.
I close with a quote from Booker T Washington, given by Rev Rose Hudson, Chaplain of the House of Commons: “The circumstances we find ourselves in are not important. It’s how you respond to them that matters.”
© Michael Peters, Tiemo Talk of the Town
12th October 2011
The subject of Education will be one topic covered at Tiemo Talk of The Town’s ‘In Celebration of Men II’ for International Men’s Day on 19th November 2011. The 2011 theme is ‘Giving Boys the best possible start in life’.
Full details and advanced booking information www.tiemo.co.uk