ACD 2014 students reflect on their amazing week at Cambridge University


devante-1When I was told that the ACD summer school would be held at Cambridge University I was ecstatic, and I could not wait! When we were on our way there I was quite nervous because I didn’t know many people, but many of my fellow Young Leaders were very friendly and willing to include me.

Having made a few friends, the actual settling in to Cambridge became fairly easy and I was always looking forward to what the new day had in store. During our stay I gained so much knowledge on things that would never have been taught in a school e.g. “True” Black History, healthy diets and (what I found extremely useful) how to take notes properly.

I am definitely happy with ACD summer school and would it again if we were allowed because it rose much higher than my expectations for it and what it’s done for me is hard to put in to words. All in all I would say that going on this “educational adventure was one of the best experiences of my life, and it certainly made the summer of 2014 a GREAT one.

Thank you ACD!
~ DeVantè Hudson is a Year 10 student at Leytonstone School. He is aspiring to become an Architect one day.




siobhan-2When I was first told I had been chosen for the course with two of my school mates, I was a bit confused as to why I was picked but I am very grateful I was. Excited to be starting, I remember telling most of my friends and couldn’t wait to go to Cambridge in the late summer! Nearer the time I started to doubt whether I was keen to go anymore considering at the time I was not a ‘people’s person’ and was extremely nervous to meet new people, some of the rules we received didn’t really draw to me at first either but once I got there it was a whole different story. After a 2 hour awkward coach ride, we finally reached our destination and started to mingle with everyone else, got assigned to our designated rooms and were on our way. The first couple of days were a handful. The morning workout, the rush, the fifteen hour days consisting of just collecting knowledge wasn’t something I was used to.

Our ACD tutors explained to us that even though we may have felt awkward mingling with new people, by the end of the week we would be one. One big family and they were right. The first day we all connected instantly getting to know each other, taking to everyone there, after that we became even closer as if we had known each other for a number of years, that’s how fast we bonded.

ACD is absolutely incredible. Not only did it give me life lessons and how I should see myself, it was historical, insightful and an experience I will never forget. I went from a timid person always hiding away from great opportunities to someone who knows it’s okay to aim high and miss, it will just make me that much more eager to want to achieve my goal.

Black children today are not taught much about our history except slavery, of course some may not ever know that we were kings and queens. Powerful and superior. We need to lift up ourselves and see that we are not what all those history books and what the media portrays us to be isn’t true. We had and still have such wonderful minds that can unlock such things that we won’t ever even have to say the word ‘slave’ again.

ACD helped me realise that even though people may put me down I can and will be something great. I recommend all parents to consider their child for this course because they can accomplish so much, they just need help to see and unleash the power within them.

I would like to thank every tutor on the ACD programme for helping me realise that I am much more than what I see in the mirror everyday.

~Siobhan Martin is a Year 10 students from Leytonstone School who loves drama and music and dreams  of one day becoming a professional singer. 



michaelWhen I started ACD, I didn’t know anyone. I had not met anyone or seen anyone that was on the ACD course. However, as I got to know everyone as the days went on, I became very well acquainted with everyone there. In some ways, it was good that I didn’t know anyone when entering because at the end of the residential I had made a whole set of new friends.

The programme was very interesting and impressive. Each day I learnt a new thing such as Black History prior to slavery, or Protecting your laptop or computer from viruses and hackers. On top of that, the movie breakdowns kept us focused as all of us like to watch movies and we looked at the hidden meanings behind every scene.

The Tutors were all helpful because of a range of strictness and relaxation helped us to accomplish what we set out to do.

After the Cambridge residential, I became more confident. The tutors taught us how to be confident; but the one point that helped the most was to put myself in uncomfortable positions as you can’t change if you stay in the same comfort zone.

Overall, the residential was very good, interesting and helpful and what I have learnt will help in the future, such as applying for jobs, revising after school and presenting yourself.

Also the people that attended will be friends for life!

~Michael Matson is a year 10 student at the Bridge Academy. He has a keen interest in maths and sciences and his ideal job would to become a physicist. 



zoe!Going to Cambridge with ACD, made me open up my eyes more and see what is more important in life; it made me realise how many mistakes I had made in life so far that have to be changed. This experience was one of the many experiences that I will have that was life changing.

Before I arrived in Cambridge I was in Crystal Palace doing an athletics competition so when I had finished I had to come straight to Sidney Sussex College. I was quite nervous because all the other students had time to introduce themselves and when I would be arriving, they would be having dinner; I would have to join them without knowing anyone. Another reason why I was nervous was because I didn’t know all of the people there, I knew most of the girls and a few boys but the others I didn’t; due to the teams I really wanted to know whether I was going to cooperate with everyone or not.

So as I arrived, I put my suitcase in the classroom and went straight to dinner, when I walked in I was thinking; where am I going to sit? Who am I going to sit next to? Why is it so quiet? Why are people staring? But at the end of the table I saw some of my friends and decided to join them which made me more comfortable then when I found out I was sharing a room with someone I knew, I was even more relieved.

Throughout the whole experience I would say my favourite parts were definitely Andrew Muhammad’s talks and movie break-downs; his talks were definitely intriguing and made me want to stay up and listen to more no matter how late it was. His movie breakdowns were AMAZING, it made me see into the movie and I will now never look at a film the same way again.  I remember on the second to last day we had an extended socialising time; we were all dancing, singing and just having a great time and I want to do it again! NOW!

In conclusion, I would definitely repeat Cambridge again, I wish it was longer. I would have happily stayed there for another week or two;  I would not mind at all if this routine was a school routine or was actually school.

~Zoe Thompson is an ACD 2014 student from Brentwood School. She is an exceptional athlete and has competed throughout England in Long Jump, 100m and 200m events.



tobiI was quite optimistic about the trip to Cambridge, but at the same time I wasn’t sure if the optimism would last throughout the seven days. I was mistaken!

I relished everyday moment at Cambridge and sleeping was ordinarily the last thing on my mind. This was because every workshop and every session got me intrigued and I think that the orders of the different events were placed perfectly. ACD made me realise and look for things that I would typically not look for in myself and for this I am appreciative.

 I think that my favourite thing in Cambridge was the movie breakdowns with Andrew Muhammad, it was so insightful. To be completely honest I did similar practices in my everyday life but Andrew took it to another level and he went deeper into points that he had already made. I apprehended that if I did that even more in my everyday life I would be able to pass in everything because I would be two steps ahead of others around me, and consequently above and beyond every competitor.

 I also enjoyed the note-taking workshop given to us by Paul. It helped me for the rest of the days and I know that as long as I apply myself I will be able to continue that in school. Most, if not all of the signs pointed out by Paul in the note taking workshop, will definitely come up in the way I am taught, especially as my GCSE’s approach. Therefore, this was really useful and helpful information to obtain. Given that I am at such a critical stage in my school life and career, I am even more appreciative.

I don’t really have anything that I liked the least; however I think that the Great Debate taught me a thing or two about how to cope and handle pressure. Looking back, I now know that this was a very good practice/example of what can easily happen in the real world, especially for people like me who have dreams and aspiration of becoming a Lawyer. I now know that in order to be successful in law or any other area in life I have to think on my feet and act quickly in accordance to the task at hand, therefore helping me to make the best from that particular challenge.

Overall I enjoyed my time in Cambridge with my fellow ACD students and I recommend it to the up and coming leaders of future generation and ours.

~Tobi Akinrinlade is a year 10 student from Westcliff High School. He has a very keen interest in law and has future aspirations to become a lawyer.



carmelWhen I left home at 8:30 in the morning on route for Southwark station I wasn’t sure what to expect. My plan was to stick to the circle of friends I already knew were coming. However, the deeper we delve into the course the more I wanted to interact with everyone in the group. After the third day we were already talking to each other like we had known each other for years. Also, by watching others in the class I felt like I could really learn something from everyone.

From a young age I have always been told that I could do anything if I just put my mind to it and that if I worked hard I could be anything I wanted to be, but for some reason I never thought that that message applied to me and that there were these so called ‘chosen ones’ who were destined to be successful or top of the class. However, my Cambridge residential experience gave me a new perspective. I can now see myself karate kicking my boundaries down and jumping over obstacles.  It was just my fear of consistent hard work that would get in the way. Why reach for the sky when you can reach for the moon, sun and the stars?

So besides the tasty breakfast in the morning and the wonderful service dinner, the whole ACD experience was outstanding. I would recommend it to every single black teenager because some of us just need that extra push that school do not always give us. There is so much I learnt in those 7 days of being there that I had never been taught at school. I am just so grateful to my mum for putting me on the course and also to all the staff at ACD for inspiring me!

~Carmel Adekunle is a year 10 student from Chelmsford County High School. She would love to become a professional dancer or actress. However, she would also happily become an accountant.



gloriaDuring the week at Cambridge I was challenged and inspired by all the messages that were presented to me by the different tutors. Before the course began I was unsure of what to expect in terms of how the days would be structured and what exactly I was going to learn, but after the first day I was pleasantly surprised by how interactive and interesting all the sessions were.

Throughout the week I became more and more fascinated by the information and techniques presented to me. The sessions were mostly enjoyable because of the wealth of knowledge the teachers passed on to help the group develop a range of skills to help us through life. For example we learnt how to notice things that have a deeper meaning than what one would originally expect. I also learnt the vital factors that allow one to build confidence; a key skill to have in life. The tutors at ACD adjusted my mindset by showing me a better way to handle certain situations.

I consider what I learnt during the week essential to my development and the exposure to others like me contributed to making the experience more special. I now have a whole new group of friends who have been equipped with a similar skill set and have developed the motivation for success. We are all now close friends encouraging each other, although we are now back at our different schools.

I am thankful to everyone who has contributed towards making the programme a success. It was an amazing experience for me and I know I am a completely different person. I am now eagerly anticipating the other ACD Programme activities.

 ~Gloria Awosile is a year 10 student from Chelmsford County High School.  She has a great passion for science and would like to become a pharmacist in the future.



euniceWhen I was first told I was going to Cambridge for a week with ACD, I was surprised and also happy that I was chosen. I will honestly admit that I was a bit sceptical about meeting new people as I prefer to be around people I know. When arriving at Southwark Station, I sat by myself until one of the friends came. I felt so awkward during the coach ride, only knowing three people.

After arriving at Cambridge and putting away our stuff, we began with a few games to get us interacting with each other. This gave me personally a rough idea of what people enjoyed or liked. This was great fun and I immediately bonded with some of the girls. It was only on the fourth day when I fully understood the effect ACD have on young people. They helped me aim higher for education, realise my potential and also show me how I can grow as person. ACD helped me to inspire the people around me and to build on my  future career.

Paul Bokel’s talks on notes helped me so I could efficiently and effectively take notes whenever it is required.Andrew Mohammed’s talks inspired me to inspire others. He gave me further confidence and taught me of my golden heritage. I knew from all of Andrew’s talks that my life was further enriched and my passion to thrive was multiplied.

From the early morning exercises to the movie breakdowns at night, I think this was the best week of my life so far. I met so many new people who I now include in my daily life.

~ Eunice Neto is a Year 10 student at Leytonstone School. She would like to be a business woman one day. 



faraWhat can I say about Cambridge? When I saw all of the people at Southwark Station I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t planning to really mingle with the people I didn’t know, but I can say it was a great experience and I’m really glad I attended ACD’s Cambridge Summer School and met new people.

When other people heard that I was going to Cambridge to do work during the summer holiday, they feel sorry for me, but I tell them that I wasn’t like that. Yes, we had 15 hours of work a day, but what we got from the those 15 hours changed our lives.

The one thing I loved the most about Cambridge were Andrew Muhammad’s talks and I can assure you that this is probably what all the other students say.

The way Andrew spoke about something our parents probably told us hundreds, but he made it interesting, which was great.

He taught us about how to focus, our golden heritage, the achievements of black people and within that he taught so much more.

I think that Cambridge was a truly great experience and if I could go again, I definitely would. I didn’t only learn, but I made great friends and having friends that have the same goals and what the same thing as you I always helpful.

I am truly grateful for the things I learnt and experienced at Cambridge. I know that all these things I have learnt will help in the future.

Cambridge 2014 was the best experiences I have had!

~Fara Sunmola is a year 10 student from Colchester County High School. She loves science and is seeking to become a forensic scienctist.