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Alica Derome Rebecca Saul
Woodhouse College
Alica Derome Rebecca Saul

Ema wins Aspire Rising Star award

Dated: 11 December 2019

 
Well-deserved congratulations to Woodhouse student Ema who received the Aspire Rising Star award at the 2019 Student Social Mobility Awards, hosted by upReach Patron, Baroness Helena Kennedy at the House of Lords on 27th November 2019.
 
The Aspire Rising Star award recognises the Sixth Former who has overcome challenging circumstances to achieve outstanding success academically or in extra-curricular activities, and who shows greatest potential to go on to achieve further success.
 
The Awards are organised by upReach - a charity that helps young people achieve their career potential by providing an intensive program of support that addresses socio-economic barriers to employment. The awards are to showcase the incredible achievements of undergraduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds from across the UK. They recognise students who have excelled in their studies and beyond, and shown great potential to excel as they launch their careers. Their focus is on students who have demonstrated great resilience, determination or initiative, or boosted their employability in innovative ways.
 
Ema said “I’m still in a bit of shock about getting an award. The people who were shortlisted (over 200 were nominated) are all people who have done such really great things that I kind of don’t feel like I deserve it… it hasn’t quite sunk in. But I am excited to get it.”
 
Someone who most definitely thinks she’s worthy of the award is Head of Mathematics at Woodhouse, Dr Brennan-Rhodes, who nominated Ema.
 
He said “Ema is a true star that is thoroughly deserving of this award. She is a high-flying achiever and is strongly predicted to achieve top grades in maths, further maths, chemistry and biology at A level. She has done this with remarkable humility, genuine interest and dedication.
 
It is a delight to teach Ema, not only because of her natural academic curiosity, but also because she has such a lovely and kind personality. Without thinking, she goes out of her way to help others both inside and outside of lessons.”
 
 
Ema with upReach Patron, Baroness Helena Kennedy 
 
Ema heard a month after she’d been nominated that she had been shortlisted and would get to attend an award ceremony at the House of lords…
 
“The House of Lords was really pretty, even though they have guards everywhere with giant guns, but it was really nice, and they gave us great food - mini ice cream canapés! Lots of people who work at the charity and their sponsors were there and my dad came too, he was very happy.
 
I received a glass trophy which I have at home now and I got to work with the charity that day and helped make an ‘Aspire’ video which they will send out to schools giving advice about applying for post 18 options, it was fun.
 
I’m applying for medicine at university and found out the same week as the award that I’ve got an interview for Cambridge. It’s was a very good week.
 
I’ve applied to Cambridge, UCL, Kings and Edinburgh to study medicine and I hope to be a sports doctor. I enjoy science and researching, especially genetics, and as a doctor I’ll get to help and talk to people in the community, which I really like.
 
I came to Woodhouse because my school didn’t offer all of the subjects I wanted, and at the open day I really liked it here. The maths department is really great. I think there’s more of a relaxed learning style here and it’s more independent. You can kind of work in a way that suits you best. I get to college early at 7.30am usually because that’s really my only time to study, I only manage one or two hours at home. But I work quite quickly and get most of my homework done at college.”
 
And if working hard enough to be predicted A*s at A level wasn’t enough, Ema also finds time for sports…
 
“I do Taekwondo. I’ve been training for six years and am a 2nd Dan which is great because it means I also get to teach and judge. I used to train with Team GB but being a professional requires more time and resources than I have at the moment. I really enjoy it as I get to train with my brother, and I also get rid of a lot of my stress. Becoming a sports doctor may mean that I can combine both my sport and my studies.”
 
Evidence indeed that Ema is certainly a student who works very hard - and plays hard. We wish her well with her Cambridge application and are confident that her dreams of sports medicine will come true, and hope that this award will encourage her to keep to the successful game plan she has already set herself.


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