Student Maria wins JPF award

Dated: 10 December 2020

This month we will be celebrating some of our very deserving students who have been nominated for (and won) the Jack Petchey Foundation award.
Maria was nominated for the award by her personal tutor - Valentina Ross - who said "Maria has shown great determination and maturity despite some newly discovered personal barriers which could have slowed down her progress. She overcame them and is now on the path to her well deserved top grades."
When we asked Maria this week if she could comment on the award she was remarkably open about recent events in her life...
"My recently discovered Asperger’s could have held me back, particularly because of the stigma surrounding autism. However, I view it as a strength which motivates me to achieve my academic goals. I am now learning to accept my differences instead of feeling pressured to conform, which I think a lot of people can relate to in their own ways. Accepting myself and learning from my mistakes has helped me to become more positive - I am proud of my progress in this way, despite the challenges."
In an already difficult year, how has it been at college?
"Regardless of the pandemic, there have been a lot of opportunities here. I’ve made some good friends whilst overcoming my awkward social interaction skills. I am thankful to my teachers, my tutor and my friends who have all been supportive and understanding."
What plans do you have when you graduate from Woodhouse?
"I am aiming to fulfil my UCL offer for BA Geography, which I am looking forward to. During my year abroad, I would like to research/study in countries such as Singapore, Canada and China. In addition, I hope to partake in language classes to improve my Mandarin skills and to finally learn Arabic. As I’ll be 18 soon, I will be able to take my environmental and animal rights activism to a wider audience with Greenpeace, PETA, and WWF."
And how do you feel about getting The Jack Petchey Foundation Award?
"I was surprised at first but grateful to have this award. It’s encouraging overall to see the little victories being recognised and I hope that I can inspire fellow students to stay positive.
I will be spending the award money on a Royal Geographical Society membership for the college for two years. The rest of the money could go towards planting a nice tree if I am allowed to do so. Perhaps a cherry blossom tree, symbolising strength and renewal, to inspire everyone to carpe diem!"
We are positive that students will be inspired by Maria's example of personal strength and resilience. She is a an outstanding Woodhouse student and we are proud to be able to celebrate her achievements.

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