Achievements of young black people celebrated at awards (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Achievements of young black people in Waltham Forest celebrated at awards
Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate the achievements of young black people in Waltham Forest at the tenth annual Kreative Culture Klub (KCK) awards.
The event was established in 2003 to promote academic and cultural excellence while countering negative stereotypes, and has grown in success each year.
Among the winners was 21-year-old Ashlee Parris, who is on a gap year after completing her studies at Leyton Sixth Form College.
At the age of 12 Ashlee was in a car crash and lost part of her sight in one eye, and had to be flown to America to undergo extensive medical treatment.
Despite missing months of school she battled against adversity and went on to excel in her studies, getting nine A* to C GCSEs in 2009.
She continues to suffer from health issues relating to the crash but has continued to do well academically, and has blossomed as a jazz songwriter in her spare time.
Her proud mum even flew in from the Caribbean to watch her pick up her award at the ceremony at Walthamstow Assembly Hall on Friday.
Ashlee said: "It is an honour to be receive the Young Gifted and Black award.
"This has given me even more motivation to achieve my goals.
"I hope that my story can influence other people to persevere through whatever difficulty they may face”.
Other winners included students from Waltham Forest College, Sir George Monoux College, George Mitchell School, Buxton School, Lammas School and Willowfield School.
The winner for top male achiever jointly went to teenagers Curtis Jamal Campbell and Kwarteng Sarfo, both currently students at Leyton Sixth Form College, who each got nine A* and A GCSEs.
Yvonne Bailey, founder and co-ordinator of the awards, said: "When started the awards ten years ago in a small community centre and I never thought ten years later it would grow to something like this.
"I'd like it to go national to help tackle some of the stereotypes towards young black people.
"To have so many the students, parents and the wider community come shows how much they value it.
"Everyone who attended left feeling happy, hopeful and uplifted."
The Leyton-based KCK, which was founded in 1998, also holds weekly activities for young people, including classes in drama, street dance, ballet, and music - performances of which featured on the night.
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