A student who came to Milton Keynes from Africa as a 13-year-old unable to speak much English has proved an inspiration by earning a place at Oxford University.
Keren Kassandra left the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo in 2013 with relatives, but was put into foster care by Milton Keynes Council shortly afterwards.
Now 18, she has gained four high grade A Levels in English Literature, French, Religious Studies and History at St Paul's Catholic School.
She starts this month at Oxford, where she will be studying Philosophy and French at Oxford University for the next four years.
Keren has also taken up a position on the Council’s Corporate Parenting Panel to share her experience and support other children in care.
This week she was presented with a cake and flowers at a celebration event held at the civic offices.
She also received a card signed by many of those who have supported her to date and a £250 book token.
Keren will be supported as a care leaver into higher education, says the council.
Councillor Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “It was a huge pleasure to celebrate with Keren and recognise her many achievements. We are immensely proud of our care leavers who often have to overcome incredible personal challenges.
She added: “Keren is an inspiration to young people in care and we are delighted that she will be sharing her valuable experience on our Corporate Parenting Panel.”
A council spokesman said: “I was shocked by how humble Keren is about the whole thing – you would never appreciate she moved halfway across the world and learnt the language in such a short time, as well as achieving these grades.
“In summary, we are extremely proud corporate parents!”