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Tottenham University Graduation 2019 at Haringey Sixth Form College

Young students, currently in years 4 and 5 from all the primary schools in the North East Haringey Network Learning Community gathered today, 3rd July in the Sports Hall at Haringey Sixth Form College. All wonderfully attired, looking stunning in gowns and mortarboards ready to graduate from the Tottenham University Project 2018/19.

Tottenham University, founded by Dalwardin Babu OBE is an inspirational programme, now in its fourth year. The programme raises expectations and aspirations of young people from the following primary schools:

  • Lancasterian Primary School
  • St Paul’s and All Hallows Junior School
  • Risley Avenue Primary School
  • Devonshire Hill Primary School
  • Brook House Primary School
  • Lea Valley Primary School
  • St Francis de Sales Catholic Infant and Junior School

Russ Lawrance, Haringey Sixth Form College Principal & CEO welcomed all students, staff, friends and families as he opened the ceremony with – “This graduation is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible achievements of some amazing students.”

He told the students that they are already being recognised as high achievers from across the range of primary schools in Tottenham. Russ also challenged the students to continue to excel as they progress through their education and hopefully, onto university.

Russ paid tribute to friends, families and the schools, telling students not to underestimate the unrivalled support and dedication of their friends, families and some incredible, fantastic staff.

Russ repeated his core message – “Do not let circumstance hold you back!” and he told the audience that they should always have the highest expectations.

He concluded by saying “There are plenty of people out there, many who should know better than to blame many of the problems in society on the youth. Young people are not the problem, young people are the solution. As Whitney sang teach team well and let them lead the way!”

James Lane, Headteacher at St Francis de Sales Primary School invited representatives for each school to the stage. The audience listened as the young people shared their experiences of the impact that Tottenham University has had on them this year. They talked about meeting amazing people, visiting Oxford University and going on trips such as theatre visits.

Spoken with great confidence was Jordan Abagre from Risley Avenue Primary School – “I recommend Tottenham University to all young people. It has inspired me to attend university when I grow older.”

Chloe Macks, also from Risley Avenue Primary School said “Tottenham University has changed my life. I know that I will be going to university and I know that I will do well. I will never forget this experience.”

Andrea Batten, a teacher from Lancasterian Primary School took to the stage to wonderfully give an overview and insight into her involvement with the project; speaking of how highly engaged the students were at all events, lessons, sessions trips. She spoke about how she witnessed students aspirations being raised more and more over time, which made her feel greatly inspired and positive that project has been of great benefit to all who were involved.

Every graduate was then welcomed to the stage to be awarded with their ‘Class of 2018/19 Tottenham University Graduate’ certificates by Guests of Honour British Journalist BBC Newsreader and Correspondent, Reeta Chakrabarti and Mayor of Haringey, Councillor Sheila Peacock.

Reeta Chakrabarti told the audience that she has been involved in this project since its first year and it is a wonderful initiative. She mentioned that she was so moved by what the graduates had said in the first year’s graduation that had to keep coming back, every single year. “Listening to all the young graduates who have spoken this afternoon, I mean, there is such a wealth of talent and potential in this room, you should all be incredibly proud of yourselves! You all speak with such confidence, you should be really proud.”

The Mayor of Haringey, Councillor Sheila Peacock wonderfully rounded off the event in her motivational speech by saying “The first graduation I attended here this year was last week at the H6 Vocational Graduation Ceremony and when I was at Alexandra Palace last week for the Art Show, I was asked to come to the college again for another graduation, but for much younger people who have been doing amazing things. I had to see the evidence and I am so pleased and feeling glorious to be sitting here today. This project is amazing and it is all down to the young people. Thank you all very much and well done to you all.”

We are often able to recognise children’s qualities and potential but often fail to continuously empower them to have enormous dreams, fulfil their objectives and reach their potential. What many of us also often fail to identify is that even at such a young age, children may still have the idea that certain detours stand as obstacles in the way of their hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, this often dampens the outcomes of their true potential and sadly, they may accept that their dreams are not within each reach. This is why the Tottenham University Project is amazing; it encourages children to overcome all barriers, raises their aspirations and expectations and empowers them and to work hard for what they want!

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