A student at Cardiff Sixth Form College (CSFC) has been awarded the Independent Schools Association (ISA) Lexden Prize, which celebrates the achievement of sixth formers.
Buraq Ahmed was nominated by his independent school for the award. Each ISA school is encouraged to nominate their “most remarkable sixth form student” and the award considers more than academic achievement. The award is named after ISA’s president, Lord Lexden.
Buraq, who left his parents in Iraq to travel to the UK with his grandmother to be treated for congenital hip dysplasia aged three didn’t physically meet his family again for 10 years due to the commencement of the Iraq War and subsequent Isis terrorism attacks. The family had to sell their home to pay for Buraq’s treatment. He went through nine surgeries and is on daily medication to manage extreme pain.
After attending a comprehensive school in Cardiff and having to give up playing football as his condition worsened, he won a 100% scholarship at CSFC. He completed an EPQ comparing the US and UK medical systems, competed in the Oxford and Cambridge regional debates, has been an active member of the student-led medical ethics society and was vice president of the NASA Space Settlement Design Contest team.
When we were thinking of a student to put forward for this prestigious prize, all of the staff were unanimous that Baraq was our number one choice as he has been such an outstanding student – Tom Arrand, head, Cardiff Sixth Form College
Since lockdown, he set up, with three other CSFC students, Highwell Education – a free UCAS guidance service for Welsh students, tutoring them in UCAT and BMAT university preparation.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed to have been chosen as the winner of the Lexden Prize,” said Buraq. “It is such an honour to have been chosen out of all the hundreds of other very deserving students and it is something I will treasure forever.”
Head of CSFC, Tom Arrand, said: “When we were thinking of a student to put forward for this prestigious prize, all of the staff were unanimous that Baraq was our number one choice as he has been such an outstanding student.
“He has worked extremely hard despite all his physical suffering and has gone against all the odds to make a real success of his life. Here at Cardiff Sixth Form, he has embraced all of the opportunities given to him, been an inspiration to other students and enormously supported the whole school community.”
The runner up for the award was Georgia Carmichael from Claires Court. Cara Bland from Ipswich High School and Tim Schien from DLD London were also highly commended.