I was only eight years old when I got expelled from mainstream school.
At that time, I hated everything about education. I was always messing about or playing up because I couldn't see the point. I was sent to a new school but my behaviour and attitude was so negative that I was at risk of being expelled from there too. I could feel my life spiralling out of control but I just didn't know how to fix it.
My home life was a bit different to most other young people my age as I was a young carer for my severely disabled little brother, Blade. It was during this time that I started attending the xl programme which is an initiative from The Prince's Trust that improves the skills and confidence of young people who are struggling at school.
During xl my attitude changed massively. I went from a pessimistic and uncertain student who hated school to a confident young person with a keen appetite for learning. I didn't recognise myself! As my attendance steadily improved, I felt something change; I realised that I wanted to make something of myself.
My confidence and self-esteem sky rocketed and I began mentoring younger students. When the school inspectors commented that I could be mistaken for a teaching assistant, it made me so proud. I was so happy to be helping less able students realise their potential, just like The Prince's Trust did for me. I was even elected to the school council! That was a really special moment.
Just when things were really starting to look up, my family and I were dealt a massive blow. Tragically, Blade passed away. We were all devastated and faced our most difficult year but I decided to not let all my hard work go to waste and threw myself into education. My friends and family were bowled over when I went on to sit a total of eight GCSEs.
xl was with me every step of the way and helped me prepare for my next step with mock interviews and completing college application forms. They were the stepping stone I needed to help me achieve my goals. I don't like to think about where I'd be without them.
To be nominated for the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year award feels amazing. To have someone stand up and acknowledge what a journey I've been on is pretty incredible. I hope I've shown that with the right help you can overcome anything to be the person you want to be.
The xl programme not only helped me realise what I'm good at but it also showed me how to apply that to my school work and ultimately my future career. What it really gave me was ambition. Now I'm going to college and training to be a childcare assistant. I've been given a second chance with a solid foundation for my future. I'll always be thankful for that.
The Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards were held on Monday at the London Palladium. The Huffington Post supported the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year Award. Find out more here.Suggest a correction