The Student Room's Student in a Million awards are back!
Following on from last year's successful inaugural awards, we once again asked you to nominate your inspirational student stories. Your response has been remarkable, with many amazing people being nominated over the past few weeks. Our in-house judging team has now decided on the shortlists in four separate categories.
Please read through their stories and then, using the form at the bottom of this article, vote for those you find the most truly inspirational.
Voting will close at midnight on Sunday 24 August, when the public vote will be added to the votes of our TSR judges. The winners will be announced at the start of September.
Voting on the Student in a Million 2014 awards is now closed
Role Model award: nominees
Sarah has battled both depression and bulimia since her teenage years. These illnesses meant she hated the first two years of university, but since her recovery she has focused on a desire to provide for others the support and environment that was not available for her. Sarah started a number of support campaigns, including Operation Beautiful UEA, a campaign to promote positive body image and self-esteem. Sarah’s compassion and caring for others are why she has been nominated for the Student in a Million role model award.
Molly inspires her classmates and friends by managing to balance the demands of studying A-levels with an active role for local charities. She spends her Saturdays working at a dog shelter and every Friday volunteers at a local community youth club. Molly plays a huge part in the lives of the children at that club and organises a range of activities for the disabled youngsters there.
Emma has shown inspirational leadership by launching an Autism and Disabilities Club in her sixth form. She sacrificed her Saturdays to work with young people with autism in the London borough of Havering, inspiring a group of fellow students to work with her. This is on top of A-level studies, in which Emma manages to be a high-flyer despite the commitment to her extra-curricular volunteer work in the community.
Inner Strength award: nominees
Shortly after the start of year 10, Daniel Freear suffered an accident that left him paralysed from the chest down. He spent the next six months in Sheffield Northern General Hospital Spinal Unit. Daniel was offered the chance to retake the year but instead chose to stay with his year group and complete two years’ work in a single year. He recently sat his exams and is looking forward to his A-levels.
When he was in Year 9, Joseph had a stroke which left him paralysed from the neck down. Now he requires 24-hour care and the support of a ventilator, and yet in the last three years he has achieved a grade B in maths in year 10, and took just 10 months to complete two-year GCSEs in four other subjects as well as a BTEC.
At the age of 18, three months before his A2 exams, Tom was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Despite that, he achieved A*A*A and gained a place at Bristol Uni to do Mechanical Engineering. There, despite finding out his cancer had become terminal, he was awarded one of the highest firsts in the year for his design of a car front suspension.
Overcoming Adversity award: nominees
While at university, Kavisigah became responsible for her younger brother after it came to light he had been abused. Kavisigah did her best to find living accommodation near her university for the two of them. The conditions were awful, including mould and rats. Despite the financial difficulties Kavisigah faced she never gave up and used every resource available to her. She would take her brother to food banks during term times so they both had enough to eat. The hard work Kavisigah put in to caring for the both of them meant that her brother completed his studying and obtained a university place to start a degree in social work.
Mezhabin moved to England from Bangladesh, having not previously attended school consistently. Starting in year 8, Mezhabin struggled at first with cultural differences, bullying and language barriers and found it difficult to fit in. Instead of giving up she worked hard and became a model student. Mezhabin is now fluent in English and achieved straight As in her GCSEs. After receiving grades of ABC in her A-levels, Mezhabin has secured a place at University of Liverpool to study law.
For much of her secondary education, Rhianna has had to battle several setbacks. Suffering from mental health difficulties since before her teens, she was also bullied after falling pregnant at a young age and was the victim of physical abuse in a relationship. Faced with such difficulties in mainstream school, Rhianna has since flourished in Hospital and Outreach Education, where she has remained driven and ambitious to further her studies.
Unsung Hero award: nominees
Getting a student off a dodgy disciplinary, providing first aid to an unconscious classmate and saving a department thousands of pounds through repairing scientific equipment: these are just three of Jo’s college achievements. She cares for all students and has been described by her tutor as the single most politically active student, nobly promoting this year’s International Womens’ Day as well as LGBT issues. She has done all of this while providing care for her disabled mother.
In his school Jay is known for championing equal rights and individuality. While he was studying for his GCSEs, Jay tutored a new student from China due to her English being limited. He managed to get this student fluent in the English language and she achieved an A* in her GCSE. Jay has performed poetry in the National Portrait Museum and was the first person in his area to reach the Poetry by Heart competition national finals. He is about to start his A-levels and is aiming to study ancient history at Cambridge university.
Most students tend to keep revision notes to themselves, but Leah Green is not most students. Helping 28 A-level psychology students at her school prepare for exams, Leah has created a website packed full of revision notes. She did all of it while having a job and a social life, and never expected anything in return for the time she sacrificed.