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Inspirational learner on course for a bright future

News from Sunderland College

City of Sunderland College student, Grant Hardy, is celebrating after successfully receiving the prestigious Helena Kennedy Award.

The Helena Kennedy Foundation invites further education and sixth form colleges to nominate students who have overcome financial or personal obstacles to complete their education.

Grant, 18, from Washington, who studies at the College’s Usworth Sixth Form site, is on-course to achieve A grades in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at A-level.

His tutors decided he was an ideal candidate for the award, having first arrived at the sixth form without the confidence and communication skills he has today.

Marianne Hill, curriculum leader for science and mathematics, said: “Grant is an exceptional learner and a role model for other students. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and this affected his confidence and self-esteem, particularly whilst at school. We therefore felt that a mentor would benefit his learning.

“Grant is dedicated to his studies and has worked hard to build up his skills.  Thanks to his efforts he is now a straight A student. Grant has thrived personally as well as academically, to such a point that he now prepares resources for other students.”

As well as the award, Grant received £1,500 which will help towards the cost of university and mentoring fees as he is set to embark on a three-year degree in Natural Sciences at Newcastle University this autumn.

Grant’s love for the sciences has extended into his personal life, he is a keen astronomer and with the assistance of his family, he has successfully transformed a garden shed at home into an observatory which will come in handy when he studies astronomy as part of his degree course.

Marianne added: “When I heard about the Helena Kennedy Foundation I knew instantly that Grant would be an ideal candidate. I was also keen that he should be able to attain a mentor at university and through the Foundation he is able to go to university with the knowledge that he can be guided with his learning. We are delighted with Grant’s success and it has been fantastic to see him flourish.”

Lucky Grant also has the exciting opportunity of travelling to London, where later this year he will go to an awards ceremony at the House of Lords to collect his award.

Grant said: “I found out about the award through Marianne who encouraged and helped me to apply, I was happy and delighted to hear that I had won.

“I would like to thank the College for providing me with my mentor Gordon. He has helped me enormously throughout my time here and I would also like to thank my lecturers and my tutor who have encouraged and supported me.

“I am now looking forward to stepping up my education when I make the transition to university next year.”

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