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Britain’s top black students honoured

SWIMMING IN THE FAST STREAM: First class graduate Jonathan Sinclair with Prudential chief Tidjane Thiam (right)

HIGH ACHIEVING black students including one of Britain’s youngest councillors were recognised at an awards ceremony at the House of Commons on October 8.

The London Schools and the Black Child (LSBC) Achievement award, part of MP Diane Abbott’s LSBC initiative, celebrates the successes of students who have achieved exceptional results in GCSE, A-levels and in higher education, despite hardships or while juggling extra-curricular activities or contributing to their school or wider community.

Of the 24 candidates this year, six students, three boys and three girls, received awards. There was also a special mention for Adam Jogee, 22, who secured an upper second class degree in history from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), while campaigning successfully to be elected as one of Britain’s youngest councillors.  

On receiving the award Jogee, a Labour councillor in the London borough of Haringey, said: “It was a real treat to receive this award and to be recognised for getting a degree and winning an election at exactly the same time. It wasn’t easy and I blame my burst of grey hair on April and May 2014.”

He added: “It is worth noting that while I am honoured by this award, my main focus is on working to ensure the people of Hornsey are in good shape.”

Lewisham resident, Jonathan Sinclair, who received first class honours from Brunel University in Information Systems, said “it is an amazing feeling” to be recognised for his achievements.

The 22-year-old, who is now on a graduate scheme at IBM, was also an ambassador for Brunel’s government-backed Widening Participation Scheme which promotes tertiary studies to prospective first generation higher education students and those from low-income families.


Sinclair said it was “important to provide some visibility of exceptional black students who are doing something positive.”

He added: “There is so much negative media about young black people or black people in general. It’s nice to have a showcase that promotes something positive.”

Special guest Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of FTSE 100 firm Prudential, praised the “incredibly gifted and hardworking young women and young men”.

Thiam who was previously named Britain’s most powerful black man added: “They provide us with compelling evidence that talent is not the preserve of any particular community or culture. My message to these inspiring students is that you are your best when you are being yourself. Hard work combined with authenticity is the route to success.

“From a business perspective, I believe strongly that the future belongs to employers who seek and nurture talent from all parts of our increasingly diverse society. Excluding no segment of society from the search for talent is the best way for businesses to ensure they will find the very best talents available.”

Abbott, the host of the awards and chair of the LSBC initiative, said: “Another year, another opportunity to celebrate the incredible achievements of London’s young black students. Quite how they manage to fit in everything else whilst studying to achieve these fantastic results never ceases to amaze me.

“Tonight goes to show that despite the challenges of negative stereotypes facing them, these young black students are among the highest achievers in the country.”

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