My brother gave me strength to study, and help oth­ers

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Student Life -

COM­MIT­TED stu­dent An­drea Mid­dle­ton has over­come a dev­as­tat­ing fam­ily tragedy to grad­u­ate from Edge Hill Univer­sity on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1 with a Masters in Ed­u­ca­tion.

In the sum­mer of 2016 An­drea, 46, who is orig­i­nally from South Africa but moved to Hook in Hamp­shire ten years ago with her hus­band and three daugh­ters, re­ceived some news that would change her life for­ever.

“As I was about to be­gin the field re­search part of my fi­nal mod­ule, I had news of the sud­den and tragic death of my youngest brother, who was still liv­ing in South Africa,” said An­drea.

“He was killed whilst se­cur­ing the safety of a friend ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a vi­o­lent at­tack.

“I im­me­di­ately trav­elled back to South Africa to sup­port my fam­ily, aban­don­ing my stud­ies, and over the course of the next two years, the crim­i­nal trial be­gan, and the process is still on­go­ing.

“I’ve trav­elled back many times to at­tend court pro­ceed­ings, in­ter­rupt­ing my daily work at school and im­pact­ing my young fam­ily.

“The MA team at Edge Hill have been un­der­stand­ing and sup­port­ive from the very be­gin­ning, al­low­ing me ad­di­tional time to com­plete as­sign­ments and to sub­mit my fi­nal the­sis.

“Two mem­bers of the fac­ulty, Dr Linda Dunne and Chris­tine Lewis, have been out­stand­ingly sup­port­ive and I am im­mensely grate­ful to them for their en­cour­age­ment and their be­lief in me.

“That sup­port, along with that of my won­der­ful hus­band, Gary, and my daugh­ters has helped me through.”

When An­drea moved to the UK, she worked as a Spe­cial Needs and Learn­ing Sup­port As­sis­tant in a lo­cal ju­nior school and started a Nur­ture Group to cater for a num­ber of vul­ner­a­ble pupils.

“I chose to do my Masters at Edge Hill be­cause of the wide range of in­ter­est­ing mod­ules on of­fer.

“I wanted my stud­ies to deepen my knowl­edge in the spe­cial­ist area that I was work­ing in so that I could ap­ply what I was learn­ing in a very prac­ti­cal way.

“There were el­e­ments of the course that sur­prised me in that I en­joyed them more than I thought I would and there were also el­e­ments that have en­hanced and changed my prac­tice enor­mously.”

An­drea’s ul­ti­mate goal was to pro­duce a study that would be pub­lished, so that the find­ings could high­light the won­der­ful work of her fel­low prac­ti­tion­ers, and be shared with these in­spi­ra­tional peo­ple that helped her to cre­ate it.

An­drea has re­cently been no­ti­fied that her dis­ser­ta­tion will be pub­lished in an aca­demic jour­nal next year.

She plans to use the knowl­edge she has gained, aca­dem­i­cally and through her per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, to sup­port oth­ers in the fu­ture.

“In my work with some of the most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in our com­mu­ni­ties over the past seven years, and in my own life ex­pe­ri­ence, I have re­alised that peo­ple usu­ally only re­quire three things to over­come even the cru­ellest and most tragic cir­cum­stances: in­spi­ra­tion, hope and sup­port.

“Through­out my time at Edge Hill, I was in­spired by the con­vic­tion, courage and com­pas­sion of my brother and that gave me the pur­pose and strength re­quired to sit down at my desk each day and im­merse my­self in my re­search.

“I held on to the hope that in striv­ing to learn and un­der­stand more, I could con­tinue to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of young peo­ple, thereby af­fect­ing so­ci­ety in a pos­i­tive way; and with the lov­ing sup­port of my tu­tor and my won­der­ful fam­ily, friends and col­leagues, I was able to reach the goal that I had set for my­self.”

For more about Edge Hill’s post­grad­u­ate Ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses here: https://www.edge­ post­grad­u­ate/ed­u­ca­tion/

Edge Hill Univer­sity stu­dent An­drea Mid­dle­ton

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