Surreal experience for rising young achiever

Tyrone Steele with author Zadie Smith at the House of Commons with his Rare Rising Star award

Tyrone Steele with author Zadie Smith at the House of Commons with his Rare Rising Star award

First published in News

HE has campaigned to help those in a similar position achieve their dream.

And now University of Oxford theology graduate Tyrone Steele, from Cowley, has been ranked second in the Rare Rising Stars’ list of high achievers.

Now in its sixth year, the awards recognise the work and success of the top 10 black students across the country.

Mr Steele, who is of a mixed white and black Caribbean background, said: “It seems a bit surreal to me because I don’t think of myself as being particularly special.

“It’s just a bit bizarre and a very big responsibility.”

Judges including Google UK director Adrian Joseph and Trevor Phillips, a former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, picked the top-ranking students after receiving a host of nominations.

The 21-year-old was given the honour at a House of Commons ceremony but still doesn’t know who nominated him.

He grew up in council houses, with neither of his parents completing secondary school education or going to university.

He said: “My dad has always wanted me to go to university and do better, so ever since I was a child he was always encouraging me.”

At the age of 16, the former pupil at St Gregory the Great in Cowley was awarded a scholarship and bursary to attend Magdalen College School, in Cowley Place.

He later became heavily involved with politics, serving as Young Mayor for the City of Oxford and as a member of the Youth Parliament.

During this time, he campaigned on issues affecting young people including tuition fees and Education Maintenance Allowance.

Later he attended Pembroke College, graduating with a 2:1 Theology degree earlier this July.

Mr Steele, who has has two brothers, Levi, 17, and Kai, 11, and one sister, Monae, 16, is passionate about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues and hopes to highlight this by organising a London conference next February.

Politicians, businesses, banks and law firms are expected to attend his Canary Wharf event which will include a number of talks and panels.

He said: “Coming from the background I have, it’s my duty.

“You have to be the change you want to see in the world.”

He is currently waiting to begin a Graduate Diploma in Law at Oxford Brookes University this September before joining law firm Clifford Chance in August 2016 to begin his career as a solicitor.

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