Rowing, acting, blogging...

It's time for a few congratulations to LMH undergraduates

1) To Felix Drinkall and Zachary Thomas Johnson for winning places in the Oxford boat for the annual Thames encounter with Cambridge.  It's true that the Dark Blues, um, lost.  But it's better to have rowed and lost.... etc. Besides,  Felix (stroke)  is still only in his first year studying engineering and has his eyes on Olympic glory. And Zachary (cox) is probably going to end up as a conductor after finishing his studies for a Master's degree in Musicology. 

2) To the LMH-based Poltergeist Theatre for winning the Samuel French New Play Award for their production,  Lights over Tesco Car Park - a piece described as a "devised work, written and created in the rehearsal room". and which was chosen to feature at the Sunday Times National Student Drama Festival.  Members of Poltergeist - including  Jack Bradfield, Charles Pidgeon, Niamh Simpson, Chloe Taylor, Cameron Finlay, Jon Berry  and Finlay Stroud - recently performed an inspired staging of the Ballad of Reading Gaol. 

3) To Varaidzo Kativhu, an undergraduate studying Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, for standing up to internet bullies. Varaidzo - usually known as plain Vee - is something of a YouTube star, having started her own channel, Miss Varz, which now has nearly 2,000 followers.  Here she regularly talks about life at Oxford, encouraging black and minority ethnic students to apply. She sometimes pulls no punches and makes no pretences that Oxford is more diverse than it actually is. But she is inspiring about her own experience at LMH - which started as one of the first Foundation Year cohort - and we can begin to measure the way she is motivating other students from hard-to-reach backgrounds to apply. 

Recently she found vile racist abuse in the comments section on her blog. But using her favourite saying - "when life throws a lemon, make lemonade" - she went on a social media counter-attack to expose her trolls.  That, in turn, was noticed by ITV News and Al Jazeera, who invited her to appear on their news programmes.  Her positive talk about Oxford is regularly retweeted by Wellington Square itself.

Vee is irrepressible. Her two-hander with Malala is a good place to start if you want to watch her Vlog. Or, if you want 15 minutes of comedy gold, watch her session with second year LMH PPE student Josh Tulloch as the latter does the former's make up.  Two stars in the making


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