High-flying duo head for Harvard

Saturday 22 June 2019

Lauren Tenn-Mills, and Andi Stannard are set to depart for an exciting summer at Harvard University

Two Care Experienced young women from Scotland are about to embark upon a potentially life-changing summer adventure at Harvard University thanks to the support of Who Cares? Scotland, local authorities, and SQA.

Andi Stannard, 17, from Orkney, and Lauren Tenn-Mills, 18, from Bo’ness depart today for a seven-week residential stay at Harvard University’s Secondary School summer programme.

Lauren and Andi left Glasgow on Saturday 22 June, heading for the world famous university campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts just north of the city of Boston. Once enrolled, they will begin a busy timetable focusing on subjects that they selected before their departure, and have the opportunity to make life-long friends with fellow students from all over the world.

 

Heading for Harvard 2019 from Who Cares? Scotland on Vimeo.

 

Andi Stannard is looking forward to her summer at Harvard

Speaking about her hopes for the trip, Andi, a sixth year pupil at Kirkwall Grammar School, said: “Harvard is the kind of place you only see in movies, and at the minute all this seems like it’s happening to someone else. I have to keep reminding myself that it is happening to me! When I applied for the summer school, I never allowed myself to believe I would make it past the first hurdle. It just goes to show that no matter how small a chance you think you may have, it might just be the lucky break you deserve!”

This is the tenth year Who Cares? Scotland has sent students to Harvard for the summer, giving Care Experienced young people the opportunity to experience student life at an Ivy League university.

Lauren, a student at Forth Valley College, said: “Harvard isn’t a place I ever thought I would be able to associate myself with, especially as a young Care Experienced teenager from Bo’ness.

"Chances like this are what give children in care hope for a brighter future. I believe it is so important for every child in the system to realise that they have the potential to achieve whatever they put their mind to.”

Lauren Tenn-Mills can't wait to get started at Harvard

 

Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland wished both girls well before their departure, but said while it is right to celebrate Lauren and Andi’s achievements and provide aspirational opportunities; more can be done to support Care Experienced people in education.

Duncan added: “I’m positive that Andi and Lauren will thrive at Harvard, and take that experience with them as they continue their studies. Andi and Lauren are amongst the exception. Current figures show that just 16% of care experienced young people leave school with a single Higher, or a similar qualification. From 40 years of WC?S evidence, we know that Care Experienced people have always had high aspirations – and we need ensure all aspects of the system are able to support their ambitions.”

Kevin Browne-MacLeod, Director of Care Experienced Membership at Who Cares? Scotland, commented: “We need to do more to ensure that attainment for all people with Care Experience continues to improve. Behind all these great opportunities is suffering. This is a rare opportunity for anybody, even more for Care Experienced young people. We are looking at ways in which as a society we can better support Care Experienced young people throughout their education. The Harvard Summer School programme, and the support of corporate parents like the Scottish Qualifications Authority, help us to show young people that there are fantastic opportunities out there, and their background should not define their future.”

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said: “Staff from across SQA are immensely proud of our relationship with Who Cares? Scotland. Like any corporate parent, we take great pride in the achievements of the young people we encounter. Andi and Lauren, are about to head off on a fantastic adventure, and it is a real thrill to see them set out on their own. Their time at Harvard will help shape them and their outlook on life, and I’m sure their story will inspire others who I hope will realise that your background should not be a barrier to your ambitions.”