Campaigning student lands place at Cambridge

A CAMPAIGNING Ripon Grammar School student who has been a force for change in tackling racial discrimination has achieved top A-level grades to win a place at the University of Cambridge.

Funmi Sowole has laid the foundations for her bright future as an architect with a spectacular set of results – two As in art and maths and two A*s in history and her extended project qualification.

She explained: “I've always wanted to work in a job that has a real positive impact on people, and in sixth form I became more aware of how spaces affected my everyday life and became interested in architecture, particularly its social implications and its ability to make a difference to people’s everyday lives whether on a small or large scale.”

The 18-year-old, from Thirsk, who was appointed student welfare officer at RGS, volunteered with The Black Mind Initiative during lockdown to help improve treatment for Black and ethnic minority mental health patients.

“It’s something I feel really passionate about. I have seen first-hand the stigma surrounding mental health within the Black community. This, paired with a medical community focus on physical illness when dealing with Black people makes it hard to receive the help needed, something that will always bother me.”

Funmi set up the non-profit organisation’s donations page and has been working with other students nationwide to win sponsorship to encourage more Black students to enter mental health professions: “It’s been really rewarding.”

She added: “I am super ready for this next chapter of my life. Whilst sixth form was definitely a struggle, especially in the midst of a pandemic, I learnt so much about myself and these are lessons I’ll be able to apply at university and whatever I do next.”