Newham Ethiopian wins scholarship to Eton

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Ishak Ayiris with his father, Abate, and mother, Bekelech. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris for The Guardian
Ishak Ayiris with his father, Abate, and mother, Bekelech. Photograph: Frantzesco Kangaris for The Guardian

Ishak Ayris, a Newham native born to Ethiopian immigrants, has won a scholarship at the famous Eton College worth £33,000 a year.

The 15-year-old boy, who currently attends Forest Gate Community School, will study his A-levels at the prestigious college, provided he gets the required GCSE grades as expected.

He hopes to study English, Politics, History, and Maths, and would like to go to Oxford once he has completed his A-levels and go on to become a politician, albeit as an independent councillor, as he believes that the Labour and Conservative parties are “two cheeks of the same backside”. Instead he wants to go back to Newham to make a difference within the community he grew up in. He promises never to forget his roots and believes that although the scholarship “will change [his] life, it will not change [his] values”.

Ishak was chosen as a potential scholarship candidate after being spotted by his teacher when he was in year 10 and was given support by the Pupil Premium Payment set up by the government to help provide funding to disadvantaged pupils.

Ishak’s parents are originally from Ethiopia and met in the UK after arriving separately. Despite some financial difficulties, Ishak insists that his parents have always been able to provide for him and have always believed that he was special.
Ishak is perplexed by claims that his humble background is what earned him a place at the prestigious college. Rather he rightly states that it is a result of his “ability and success during interview”. He is also grateful to his teacher, Simon Eliott, for his support and dedication. Mr Eliott is sure that Ishak will “go on to be a shining example to others”.