Elise Ward will be celebrating her graduation from the University of Worcester with a very special addition to her life.
During the second year of her BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities and Inclusion (SENDI) degree Elise discovered she was expecting her first child. The happy news followed the tragic loss of a close family member, which shook Elise’s world.
Determined to continue her studies, she drew on the support around her and today is proudly sharing her success with her young son.
“When I look back on my time as a student at the University of Worcester, I'm almost in disbelief that I have overcome many life events, some of which most people don't experience in a lifetime, all whilst continuing to study and gain a First Class degree,” she said. “Despite enjoying every single moment of my time at Worcester, I would say that my best memory was submitting my dissertation and getting a physical copy bound. Holding it did not seem real and I can't express the emotion I felt knowing that I've come to the end of my journey as a student, as well as hoping to make my tutor, lecturer, family and son proud.”
Elise said that she’d always had a passion for SENDI, having worked as a community support worker for adults prior to starting the degree.
“When I turned 21, I was offered a position as an apprentice learning support assistant in a mainstream secondary school,” she said. “I found this job role incredibly rewarding and, a year after completing my apprenticeship, I decided that studying SENDI at university level would provide me with an opportunity to explore the field further and in a wider context, whilst gaining greater knowledge and understanding of SEND and how inclusion, diversity and equality can be promoted within society, on a local, national and global level. I also felt ready to explore potential career paths outside of mainstream education, considering learners of various ages, abilities and contexts.”
Elise’s final year work placement was spent within His Majesty's Prison and Probation Service and she has now been offered a job supporting those within the criminal justice system with SEND.
“This is a dream come true for me and fills me with an incredible, indescribable sense of pride,” she said.
Elise added: “I feel incredibly proud and emotional to be graduating - it doesn't seem real! I feel that this course and being a student at Worcester has become my identity and remained to be the only consistent thing in my life over the past three years, and for that, I'm forever grateful.”
The University’s annual autumn Graduation Ceremonies will take place as planned from September 12-14 in the beautiful and historic Worcester Cathedral followed by celebration receptions at the City Campus. No Worcester graduates have been affected by the marking and assessment boycott.
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