Ashville Sixth Former named as a Global Winner of youth competition

Young people at East London school quiz author and filmmaker on climate crisis

Ashville College Upper Sixth Form pupil, Thomas Grattoni-May has been named as a global winner of an inaugural youth competition launched by Google billionaires to support exceptional young people in the service of others. More than 50,000 teenagers from 170 countries initially entered the Rise

Challenge - which was launched by former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, and his wife, Wendy, in association with the Rhodes Trust - to identify 100 talented youngsters, aged 15 to 17, who have the potential to use their talents to tackle the planet’s most pressing issues. Thomas’ ‘big idea’ is to create a global stammering app to offer speech and

language therapy to individuals around the world who currently have little or no access to support services. Thomas hopes to bring together charities to share resources and expertise and create a global community of stammerers. And by becoming one of the 100 Rise global winners, and one of only five from

the UK, Thomas, who hopes to study physics at Oxford from next September, will now receive a lifetime of personalised support. This includes a fully paid scholarship to any accredited university in the world, a

technology package from Eric Schmidt, and an automatic invitation to attend an annual fully funded residential summit, the first of which will be held in South Africa next July. In addition, he will also obtain mentorship, career services, and access to further

funding to develop his idea to benefit others, a prize value that could exceed $500,000 for each global winner. Ashville College Head Rhiannon Wilkinson said: “This is a remarkable achievement

for Thomas, and we couldn’t be more proud of him. “To be chosen as one of the Rise 100 Global Winners is a testament to his sheer

determination not to let his stammer hold him back and of course, his tremendous hard work and ability. “It’s also a credit to Ashville’s Learning Support team led by Lucy Mullender. Our

vision is for our pupils to become better versions off themselves, and Thomas is the very embodiment of that.”



Dagenham Park Church of England School recently welcomed George Monbiot, author of This Can’t be Happening, and documentary filmmaker and climate justice activist Alice Aedy, to speak to students about the urgency of the climate crisis and what they can do about it. The visit was organised by Penguin Random House, in

partnership with Speakers for Schools, as part of their programme Penguin Talks. The programme allows young people to hear from and directly question a world-renowned thinker, writer, or influential figure from the publisher’s family of authors. Over 120 students enjoyed the opportunity to connect with

the special guests and learned practical solutions on how they can make a difference in fighting climate change. George introduced pupils to the new Green Ideas series, which consists of 20 short books by writers Penguin believed created a movement, such as Rachel Carson and Greta Thunberg. Each of them also received a copy of George’s book This Can’t be Happening. The Dagenham school was chosen to host the first in-person

Penguin Talk since the pandemic hit. Previous visits to schools include Michelle Obama on the power of education and self- belief and grime artists Stormzy on the importance of having a voice and using it. Headteacher, Chris Ash, said: “The event was a fantastic

opportunity for pupils to hear Guardian journalist George Monbiot speak about the climate crisis and what individuals and nations can do to save our planet. “Pupils asked Monbiot insightful and challenging questions

and proved that they are future leaders in the making. “An enjoyable day was had by all involved.”

u November 2021

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