A TEENAGER from Great Cornard was named runner-up in a royal award ceremony.
Kat Vingre, 17, who moved to England from Latvia two years ago, was nominated for the Flying Start award at the Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards’ regional final, which honours young people who have overcome obstacles to have a positive impact on their communities.
Kat said: “I was surprised to find I had been nominated as I didn’t know anything about it, but I was pleased as well.”
She initially struggled in her new country, suffering with bullying and problems making friends.
“When I moved to England, it was strange because everything was different and quite scary,” she said.
“I joined in the middle of Year 11 and didn’t speak very good English as I was always bullied back home.
“Every time I went to speak in lessons, I couldn’t open my mouth as I knew the other pupils would laugh.”
After achieving poor GCSE grades, Kat could not get on some college courses.
Instead, she joined West Suffolk College’s School of participation and later the Prince’s Trust team.
“A year after my GCSEs, I wanted to do everything I could to do something with my life,” she said. “Thankfully, now I can move on, have an education and a future.”
Kat achieved a City & Guilds Certificate in Personal Development and Contributing to the Community on the Prince’s Trust programme and is now enrolled on a Level 2 Uniformed Public Services course at West Suffolk College.
She is also studying to improve her English, attending a back-to-work scheme and juggling two jobs.
“I will continue to help and volunteer at the Prince’s Trust,” she said. “I’d like to join the Army or police in the future.”