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Ethnic Minority Welsh Women’s Awards

Posted: 19th January 2022

AN M Young Achiever 4

Congratulations to two of our students, Agnes and Laetisha at the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women’s Awards Ceremony 2021 who were both recipients of the ‘Young Achiever’s Award’ which focused on their super-curricular provision for others during the pandemic.

Laetisha is one of the top achieving students in the college, ranked highest in her year group for the majority of her curriculum subjects. Laetisha has ambitions to study Medicine, a course for which she is highly suited due to her excellent communication skills and genuine passion for helping others. Laetisha has continually impressed staff with her diligence, motivation and positivity both in her academic studies, and in her super-curricular endeavours. She has been involved in a great deal of voluntary work, giving up her time willingly to support others. Last year, she volunteered regularly at a care home in Penarth and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the residents. When this was no longer possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she turned her efforts to online initiatives. Motivated to maintain a sense of community among aspiring medics in the college, Laetisha established ‘CoAID Global’, an awareness-raising project for global medical crises. Students participated in regular discussions to share ideas about how best to share information and support particular causes. Along with her peers, she set up a college Read-a-thon, where staff, students and the wider community were encouraged to share their reading and donate to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Additionally, she volunteered to tutor GCSE Biology students online and recorded lessons for ‘Big Things Made Simple’, another student initiative that saw students simplifying complex curriculum topics to support peers and pupiuls in schools where academic support was withdrawn due to school closure. Laetisha’s dedication and sense of responsibility made her an obvious choice for Head Girl at the college. Since returning to college in September, Laetisha has made an impact in this role. She appreciates the unique circumstances that new students are facing, having started somewhere new in the middle of a pandemic. Her priority has been to help students settle in and feel involved, and she has gone to great lengths to attempt to foster a sense of community, including virtual games nights and other online activities. Laetisha hopes for a career in Medicine and has immersed herself in online courses, wider reading and work experience in order to prepare herself. She feels very strongly about the importance of quality of life and hopes to have a positive impact in the world of Medicine in the future. Her future career in medicine is ideally suited to Laetisha. She demonstrates high levels of empathy and understanding which combined with a strong work ethic and an ability to work extremely well under pressure, she is both aware of and able to cope with the difficulties and the challenges that medicine will throw at her. Despite the demands on her time academically, Laetisha continues the work of CoAID Global, focusing on the continued awareness of changing need for front line NHS workers and delivering practical ways to support them. Her enthusiasm and leadership are exemplary and CoAID Global has achieved some excellent feedback from medical professionals and third sector operators.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and school closure, Agnes started an initiative,‘SixthForm Tutors UK’, where she recruited peers to tutor secondary pupils in Wales, less advantaged than her. With exams cancelled and schools closed, this was a difficult and stressful time for many pupils and parents. She sought to alleviate some of the anxiety that pupils were experiencing by offering the time and knowledge of herself and her team to pupils concerned about their education and wanting to continue their studies, but whose schools were not offering as supportive a service as they required. Agnes set up Facebook and Instagram pages for pupils seeking tutoring, gathering information about their subjects and ability. She managed a group of around 20 tutors carefully matching these to the pupils, aiding both pupils who were lacking formal education and also her peers in consolidating their subject knowledge and interpersonal abilities. The feedback from tutees and tutors was excellent, with all parties enjoying and benefitting from the experience. Agnes is a bright student who is intellectually talented as well as social and industrious. She is drawn to how the mind functions, both biologically as well as in the abstract, and wishes to further this interest by studying Neuroscience at university. She is fascinated by all aspects of science and this shines through in her enthusiasm, engagement and consistently high grades. Agnes’ teachers note her excitement in lessons as she masters a particular topic or makes an intricate link to another scientific area; indeed, she excels at exploring the minutia of science as well as applying it holistically and exploring the interlinked nature of the sciences. Agnes plays an active role in college and has been involved in a range of super-curricular activities, including Debate, Model United Nations, and our Medical Ethics and Healthcare Societies. A confident orator, Agnes represented college at the Warwick University Schools Debating Competition and at the Model United Nation Convention in Cardiff, where she presented the views of the UK and Germany on climate change. Her leadership skills have also been recognised, as she has been made a Prefect for 2020/21. She is the prefect link to our resilience officers; she oversees this group and seeks to provide guidance and support to the rest of the student body with regard to promoting positive methods to develop greater resilience, a greater awareness of mental health and self-care. An empathetic and caring individual, Agnes utilised this when volunteering at a Sele Enat Orphanage in Ethiopia. She fed, cleaned and engaged in play with children ages 0-5 years. She engaged her effective communication skills finding ways to understand the children despite the language barrier. Agnes involves herself in a range of activities and reading to further her knowledge of neuroscience. She is particularly interested in mindfulness and mental health, both the contextual reasons as well as the neuroscience behind some mental health problems. Her holistic approach and her exemplary interpersonal skills will culminate in Agnes making a fantastic contribution to this area in the future.

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