Nicola Woolcock reports for The Times on Ellie Atkinson’s success in the Sutton Trust US programme
Ellie Atkinson began competing in sport only to make up the numbers in a Welsh schools cross-country race. She came 56th.
Spurred on by failure, she began training hard and has now represented her country — and won a scholarship to an Ivy League university for her outstanding achievements on the track and in the classroom.
Miss Atkinson, 18, from Rhoose, South Wales was brought up by her divorced mother, who has chronic back problems and is unable to work. From this autumn she will study, all expenses paid, at Yale, starting a liberal arts degree and hoping to specialise in business, economics, science or maths.
She is one of 38 extremely bright teenagers from ordinary or deprived backgrounds who have been persuaded to cross the Atlantic by US universities keen to snap up talent. All have received early offers after taking part in a summer school organised by the Sutton Trust, a charity that tackles educational inequality. Institutions including Harvard and Yale are offering packages worth a total of £5.5 million to the sixth-formers, including fees, accommodation, flights, and a books allowance.
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