INTRODUCING OUR SCHOLARS

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I’m Andrew Harrison and I grew up in Stockport and attended a poor high school in special measures with numerous changes in head teachers. Despite this I worked hard and achieved very good GCSE grades. Moving onto college I managed to get the grades to gain myself a place at Manchester Metropolitan University to study Law. I am in my first year of Study, in which I hope to go on to have a career in law as a solicitor after graduating. Outside of my studies I enjoy sport, refereeing junior football, playing cricket and volunteering as a coach running an under 11’s cricket team.

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I'm Aaron Omotosho. I graduated Loreto Sixth Form College in the summer of 2017. After an exciting, deeply challenging gap year and with the incredible support of my teachers, family and friends, I'm now doing what I love; studying Computer Science at the University of Oxford. The DCET Scholarship and more so the support of David Camplin are two major parts of the brilliant time I'm having here so far and I remain ever so grateful for the financial support and invaluable advice they provide. I hope to graduate with a master's degree in Computer Science in 2022 and hopefully use the knowledge I gain here to help change the world.

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Beth Critchley grew up in Salford, attending a high school just removed from special measures and suffered from glandular fever while sitting her A- Levels. She managed to secure top grades and is now in her final year at the University of York reading Law. She enjoys many activities outside of her studies including part time work, volunteering for student led project ‘Nightsafe’ and playing volleyball for her college. She is hoping to go on to be a solicitor and has a vacation scheme lined up for the summer.

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I’m Byan Abu Dakka and I’m currently studying Biochemistry at The University of Manchester. After attending a high school that was labelled ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and was in one of the worst neighbourhoods in Salford, I pushed through all the odds and went to an incredible college, Loreto. I left Loreto with 2 A*s and an A, which lead me to Manchester University initially studying Chemical Engineering. Throughout that year, I had doubts as to whether that course was the right one for me. So, after a year at university, I decided to make the decision to switch courses and it was a decision I do not regret!

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From a school in special measures to a world-class university: I’m Charlotte Harrison and I graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Mathematics and Theology from the University of Exeter. From being selected for the university touch rugby team, to working as a mentor in the prestigious Exeter Mathematics School I fully immersed myself within the university environment. After graduation, I was appointed as the City Mayor’s first ever Graduate Ambassador for Salford, a role which enabled me to encourage high aspiration in Salford schools. I am now exploring the food and drink industry, working to establish a start-up venture in London. Watch this space.

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Conscience Osayande was born in Italy and moved to Manchester at the age of 13 where she attended high school in one of the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester. Despite her secondary school attaining GCSE results below the national average she now studies at The University of Warwick. She is currently in her first year of studying Politics and International Studies and has joined several societies including the Anti-racism Society and Women for Women, an international charity organisation to make an effort to give back to society.







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Faye Allison worked part-time alongside school to pay for her travel costs to and from Loreto College, a 90 minute commute away. She left the college in 2010 with five A Levels, going on to graduate from the University of Sheffield with her BSc in Biology. Thanks to networking facilitated by Nigel Hirst, co-founder of DCET, Faye successfully gained a graduate position in Environmental Consultancy and has since moved into recruitment as a Senior Consultant with the UK’s number one scientific recruiter. She is now a DCET trustee and mentor for current scholars.

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My name is Grace Buadi and I moved to the UK at a very young age and have always lived in inner city areas which have extremely low progression rates to Higher Education. Despite finding myself in limiting circumstances, both financially and academically, I was able to excel in my GCSE's and A levels. By the grace of God I am now in my first year of studying Audiology at Swansea University. I was able to achieve these things through the support of my tutors, mentors and DCET and hope to achieve many more great things.

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I’m Hannah Ainsworth, I faced a lot of difficult challenges throughout my time in education with witnessing my mother be domestically abused by her husband who verbally bullied both me and my brother often leaving me to protect them from him in my teenage years, alongside other problems. Despite all the problems I faced at home suffering with anxiety I managed to get help from my school to pass all my GCSEs coming out with Bs and Cs. This then led me to Loreto sixth form college where I was supported along my college journey till the end of my two year course.   At the end of my college course where I received three A levels I was granted the DCET scholarship offering more financial, emotional and physical support for me to continue my education at university to satisfy my dream of becoming a qualified accountant

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Hateema Zia is a Law graduate from the London School of Economics. She was awarded the LSE Golden Scholarship and elected as a student Director for the LSE Court of Governors and Council. During University she mentored and supported students from disadvantaged backgrounds like herself. Over the years Hateema has gained a diversity of experience in the legal and banking sector. She enjoys volunteering; her most recent trip involved supporting a Human Rights brigade in Panama. Here she assisted Panamanian lawyers in providing legal access to vulnerable families. Hateema is currently studying for a Master's in Law at the University of Manchester.

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My name is Hiba Hussain and I am studying Medicine at the University of Manchester. This could not have been true without the help of many teachers and supportive staff through the years. Despite many hardships: mental health issues, financial problems which compelled me to work extremely long hours during my entire two years of college, and little experience of higher education in the family, support from my school and college allowed me to go to university with amongst the best GCSE and A level grades. The DCET has been the most recent supportive body to further eradicate any reason not to pursue this degree and give me the opportunity to be confident about starting university.

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Jay Carroll began his piano studies at age 14, a relatively late age compared to most of his peers and had close to no financial support in this. Finding ways of overcoming this barrier to access the opportunities that came his way always proved to be difficult. Despite this, he achieved a distinction in his Grade 8 three years into his studies. His high aspirations lead to his acceptance into the Royal Northern College of Music where he is currently in his 2nd year hoping to specialise in 20th century music.







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I'm Jessica Jackson and I study architecture in the University of Dundee - Scotland. It is by the grace of God that I have come this far; through the help of tutors, mentors, and DCET. Initially I struggled academically and financially, but, with hard work, perseverance and faith, I overcame these challenges. I aspire to graduate with exceptional grades, estimable skills and extensive knowledge, to work and impact the community through my chosen field. In addition, I hope to become a DCET sponsor in the future.

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Kes McNicholas studies chemistry at the university of Leeds and is currently going into his third year. He is from a working-class background and acts as a carer for his disabled mother, along with his father. Despite his family’s financial problems, he has never lacked determination and is very career driven. He was able to land a summer placement at pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca, where he shall be getting a hands-on look into their operations and how science can be applied to the forefront of medicine. After his third year he hopes to continue his studies and do a masters in chemistry.

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Lucy Sutton grew up in South Manchester and attended a secondary school which entered special measures in her first year. In her first year of college, her father was made redundant and her family were plunged even deeper into poverty. She developed a chronic illness, but persevered and gained at place at the University of Manchester reading Politics. This year she’ll lead a campaign on effective activism involving a local charity and a national organisation. She graduates this June and has ambitions to enter the world of Communications and Marketing.

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I’m Lyona Bonitto and with the help of staff at Loreto College as well as my friends and family, I managed to go from leaving a school in special measures with mediocre grades to gaining a place at Staffordshire University to study Forensic Psychology. Forensic Psychology, growing up, always felt like an aspiration that was very farfetched for a person in my situation with crime affecting me and my family, and financially not being the best off. I knew, however, that it was what I desired to do so I did everything I could to get to where I am today. The road was long and tedious with educational and personal challenges being a common theme but the support I received gave me the push I needed to persevere and achieve my dream of studying Forensic psychology.

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Maisie Palmer grew up in North Manchester. She attended a ‘Special Measures’ school that saw just a few of its students leave with 5 GCSE’s. After high school, she spent 3 hours a day travelling to and from Loreto college to ensure she could receive a better quality of education. She now reads for an MA in Politics at the University of Edinburgh, and plans to spend a semester in her 3rd year studying at the prestigious Sciences PO in Paris. Alongside her degree programme, she writes for two student newspapers to gain journalistic experience – a field of employment that she hopes to have a career in.

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I’m Neel Vyas and I am currently studying Medicine at the University of Leeds. Growing up in a deprived area and facing financial difficulties, as well as attending a secondary school which was under special measures due to its inadequate teaching. Despite this, I remained resilient and determined and through the support of an incredible college, I achieved 3 A*s at my A levels and a place on one of the most competitive degree courses at university. I believe the ongoing support from DCET is invaluable and I hope to remain connected to DCET throughout my career in perusing to be a doctor.

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I’m Nirali Vyas. I was born and grew up in Tameside. After doing my GCSE’s in a local high school, I attended Loreto College from 2016-2018 and achieved A levels in Biology Chemistry and Maths. I’m now going on to study Medicine at the University of Leeds.

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 Rebekah Officer graduated with a law degree from the University of Bristol in 2015. Whilst at University she worked to encourage students from 'non-traditional' university backgrounds to apply to leading universities.  She undertook several work placements whilst at University including a mini-pupillage at Kings Chambers in Manchester. Following this, DCET has maintained contact with Kings, and DCET Scholars continue to undertake mini-pupillages there. Since graduating she has volunteered in Panama providing pro bono legal clinics to indigenous communities with no access to legal services. 

After graduating from the University of Bristol in 2015, she volunteered in Panama providing pro bono legal advice and business workshops to indigenous communities. The purpose of the project was to provide legal advice to people who did not have access to legal representation, help set up community banks and provide workshops in schools. As part of the project, Rebekah was able to take part in a cultural exchange day and received a traditional floral headpiece from the community that she worked with. Rebekah also received a (temporary!) tattoo with ‘ink’ derived from a tree which is traditionally used to protect the skin from the sun and deter insects.

Rebekah then continued with her studies and achieved a Distinction in her post-graduate Legal Practice Course in Bristol. She went on to commence her training contract in Exeter in August 2017 and is now less than a year away from becoming a qualified solicitor.

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I’m Renésha Gray, early on I struggled with education but through determination I saw great changes, and began to do really well. After high school I studied at Loreto College until 2013, gaining all A’s in my A-Levels. I went on to study BSC (Hons) Psychology at the university of Manchester and Graduated with a 2:1. I have gained a lot of experience working in domestic violence centres and the mental health sector, and I am now working under Children’s Services. I hope to gain a training course as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in the near future.

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I'm Sadia Sheeraz, and I'll be starting my first year of study at the London School of Economics for BSc International, Social and Public Policy with Politics. The high school I attended was rated "requires improvement" by Ofsted, which was a considerable improvement from previous years. During my GCSE years I fell sick, and two months before my GCSE exams I found myself stuck in hospital, unable to see clearly and so unable to study through some of the most crucial weeks. Nevertheless, I left with great GCSE grades and a fresh bill of health. Three months into starting college, my mum passed away during a particularly bad seizure (she had been diagnosed with epilepsy during my GCSE years and would be left bed bound for weeks at a time). With three younger siblings and a supportive family in my corner, alongside my amazing college support system, I managed to push through and come out with A*A*A.

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I am Sahar Sayyed. Following a lot of hard work and dedication, I am finally going on to study Psychology at The University of Manchester. I am one of the first in my family to progress onto degree level and I hope to make everyone proud. It is a great honour to become a DCET scholar and I hope to be able to give back to this amazing network by helping others as a mentor one day. I am excited to see what university life has to offer me and I plan to take on as many opportunities as possible.

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I'm Sarah Gunnery, I had a difficult childhood however, with the amazing teachers and support of Loreto College I finished with 3 A*s and an A, I will soon be studying chemical engineering at Imperial College London. I hope for a hectic but enjoyable four years and to then progress into the chemical engineering industry.

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Tallulah Eyres. When you grow up in one of the most deprived cities in the country, surrounded by drugs, violence and crime, opportunities are scarce and bleak, especially the chance to attend a good school. Salford has always defined and inhibited me, by my surname, my postcode, and my class but escape came via Loreto College, my beacon of hope… education was my route out. On receiving a DCET scholarship, my ambitions became possible; I am now in my final year studying sociology at the LSE, ironically, being educated about inequalities and injustices, has taught me to be proud of my identity and my city. Working as a parliamentary assistant for Rebecca Long-Bailey MP has also provided a stage for my voice to fight for what I believe in ... to challenge the system, the damaging orthodoxies and tired ideologies which work against disadvantaged people like me.