Enxhi steals the show

August 18th, 2014

It’s not often that the Vice-Chancellor gets upstaged.

After Professor David Greenaway spoke at the opening of a third centre aiming to help city children achieve their potential, Enxhi, a 15-year-old pupil at The Nottingham Emmanuel School, took her turn. And her moving and eloquent speech about the support she has enjoyed at The IntoUniversity Nottingham Central Centre almost brought the house down.

Enxhi, pictured, overcome her nerves to tell an audience from the community, the University and its partner the education charity IntoUniversity how staff and volunteers at the centre in Hyson Green have inspired her.

“I only come here twice a week, but I can tell you for sure, that when I started I was getting D grades and now I am a B grade student,” she said. “I have learnt that by trying hard, and with a bit of help from IntoUniversity mentors, I can achieve my goals and get good grades. IntoUniversity has taught me revision techniques for past papers, subject knowledge and to be positive about work. IntoUniversity has found me a brilliant mentor, Saloni, and she really helps me with things I find difficult. So far she has helped me with my social skills, academic work and future aspirations…it helped me realise I can achieve things if I follow the rules and work hard at it.”

Enxhi added that she hopes to be an accountant and thanked all the mentors, especially Saloni, who had helped and encouraged her.

Another regular at the Centre, 11-year-old Aaryanna, also left her audience in no doubt how much she enjoyed the academic support offered by her mentors. The pupil at Berridge Primary, Hyson Green, said: “As well as English and Maths, I have improved my listening skills. Katie, Laura and Erica are fun and delightful to work with because they help with all of my work, so thank you! My mentor’s name is Kirsty, she is at The University of Nottingham studying Biology. I got a mentor for working really hard and coming every week. Kirsty is really nice and understands my personality.

“In the future I want to go to university and study Maths because it is my favourite subject. After university I want to be a businesswoman and have my own business (and a Lamborghini!).

IntoUniversity’s Nottingham centres at Hyson Green, Broxtowe and St Ann’s also give University students an opportunity to act as mentors, improving their skills while putting something back into the community.

James Howell, a fourth-year American Studies student, is mentor to Elias, a year 6 pupil at Jubilee Primary School. James said: “We’ve come up with a word to describe our weekly sessions, and that word is funducational; they are fun and educational most of the time. We set a Smart target for Elias to reach a level 4B in his upcoming literacy SATs and so a lot of our focus is on achieving that.”

James said the whole experience has taught him a great range of skills, from leadership and communication to planning and organisation: “I’ve had a brilliant time as a volunteer at IntoUniversity.”

Katie Nixon, of IntoUniversity at Hyson Green, added: “The support that we receive from local schools and the enthusiasm of children like Elias are essential to the success of our programmes. It’s so rewarding to find that parents and the wider community welcome the work we are doing to support children and encourage them to make the most of the encouragement offered by staff and dedicated volunteers like James.”

The IntoUniversity Nottingham centres are part of the Nottingham Potential programme, which is committed to help break down the barriers to higher education. Nottingham Potential has been made possible by a £2.1m donation from the David Ross Foundation and other generous supporters.

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