Thursday, May 26, 2011

Against The Odds

Anna Davis, the Standard's Education correspondent (who describes an undergraduate as a a schoolgirl), reports :

A London schoolgirl praised by Michelle Obama during her visit to Oxford told today of the First Lady's "unbelievable presence". Clarissa Pabi, 20, who grew up in Islington and is now president of the Oxford Poetry Society, was hailed by Mrs Obama for succeeding against the odds.

During her speech at Oxford University, the US President's wife told pupils from Miss Pabi's old school: "If you start to doubt yourselves, I want you to remember Clarissa. Remember her story if mine does not resonate. Success is not about our background - Clarissa knows that."

Miss Pabi, educated at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington and now studying English at Oxford, said: "It was unbelievable being in her presence and hearing her talk."
What an inspiring story. I presume Clarissa's parents, only semi-literate, raised her in dire poverty - but the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School brought out her full potential.

Yes ?

Miss Pabi was inspired to go to university by her mother, who has a doctorate in chemistry. Her father and grandparents were educated at university and her younger brother is at the University of East London.

Hmm. I don't know if Mrs Obama was just badly briefed, but if you could draw any moral at all from the story (to date) of Clarissa Pabi, it would surely be that success is about your background.

3 comments:

dearieme said...

Anyone who goes to Oxford is "succeeding against the odds". There are not many places and an awful lot of teenagers.

staybryte said...

I looked up Elizabeth Garrett Anerson school given the cliche fest and ethnic achievement love-in going on around it of late.

"Pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds and those with English as an additional language make excellent progress and thrive in an atmosphere of support and challenge.
"The school has identified that those girls from White British backgrounds are not achieving as well as other groups and have put initiatives and strategies into place to tackle this."

That's big of them, after all, who cares about those dreadful over-privileged white girls anyway?

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxedu_reports/display/%28id%29/100165

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