Plaistow students overcome challenges to shine at A-levels

Gabriella Smyly is the first from her family to go to university Picture: Matt Cetti-Roberts

Gabriella Smyly is the first from her family to go to university Picture: Matt Cetti-Roberts - Credit: Matt Cetti-Roberts

Nervous anticipation and excitement mingled in the main hall at New Vic College as students waited to find how they performed in their A-levels.

Among the students at the Prince Regent Lane site in Plaistow were those who have overcome difficulties to study for their exams.

Some had arrived early at the college while others came in throughout the morning. They all gathered in the main hall where they celebrated with friends and fellow students as they compared grades. Staff from the college also mingled, congratulating students and offering advice.

Gabriella Smyly, 18, from East Ham will be going to Westminster University to study herbal medicine. She gained As in Biology, Chemistry and Maths and a B in English.

She said: “I’d like to be a practitioner in naturopathic medicine. I’m interested in diet and nutrition. I had epilepsy when I was young. I want to treat people in a way that has no side-effects. Most people can be treated alternatively. I want to be able to spend more time with the people I treat because that way you get the whole story about their health. You can’t do that in 10 minutes.


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Akhil Kanukuntla, 18, from Upton Park, gained a Distinction* in Media, a B in Film Studies and C in Graphic Design.

Akhil said: “I’m going to Ravensbourne University in Greenwich to study digital film production. I want to write and direct my own films; it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. In five years’ time I want to be either producing my own feature film or working my way through TV production.”

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Alisha Sheikh, 19, from Forest Gate gained a Distinction* and C in French. She said: “I’m going to the University of Hertfordshire to study international business and French. I want to work abroad. I enjoy travelling and I know having a language will help with that. I’d like to work for a big company in Quebec, Canada.”

Leon Fields, 18, from Custom House gained two Distinctions and a Merit in Business Studies. He said: “I’m going to study accounting and finance at the University of East London. You get a six month work placement so I want to work in Dubai as part of my course and then get a good job after that. I’m really pleased with my results.”

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