Learning

Love Letter to TCFT

To TCFT,

I was a shell when I met you,

Waiting to be cracked open,

Released,

Set free into the world.

Closing myself off,

Not seeing my potential,

Believing I was good enough

Or able to reach my dreams.

Fearful of everything –

Rejection,

Being vulnerable,

Isolation,

Looking a fool;

But with you,

I cracked open,

Potential spilling out,

Fears released;

You taught me how to fly.

A confidence began to grow,

A confidence I never knew I had,

Breaking out of my comfort zone,

But feeling comfortable,

The good replacing the bad.

A place where I could be vulnerable,

Reveal the inner me,

Act a little weirdly,

Laugh loudly,

Or openly express my grief.

Learning how to fly

Just scratches the surface

Of what you mean to me

TCFT,

I never imagined two years ago

In Bosnia,

I’d have another huge family;

Like a lamb thrown to the wolves,

I didn’t know where to turn,

But I was adopted in,

Joined the pack,

Found a home away from home.

The love I feel is like no other,

Support beyond compare,

Hugs, kisses, kind words

Around every corner,

Bright smiles

And touches of care.

It started with my house sisters,

Nomes and Ellie,

Who shared a room with me;

Then Filip and Rory made me feel part of the pack,

Voice-noting the sister who means the world to me.

The care shown by Mikica and Robert,

Nevena and Ljubiša when I felt anaemic,

Bonding over dinner with Nina and Marko,

Sitting down to talk with Sandra.

Also having a heart-to-heart with Naomi,

A never-ending handshake with Miguel,

Chatting for hours with Saaf,

Dancing with Saša.

Thank you Tina for being my constant champion,

Thank you Darren for your thoughtful advice,

Thank you Mary for coming down to Croydon

And filming my poetry night.

I love you Francesco for being so full of life,

I love you Ismir for your beautiful smile,

I love you Luka for being so cute and sweet,

I love you Carina for your kind heart.

The list is endless,

I could go on for hours,

You’ve all touched my life in some way;

We’re family,

You’re in my heart,

Forever there you’ll stay.

You’ve given me a place to belong,

Which I never thought I’d find,

You gave me a gift

And so much more to write;

An answer to a prayer

I had no idea I prayed.

So this letter is to you TCFT,

My life-changer,

A gift from God,

My family;

I love you with all my heart

And always will.

Love

Shaniqua, Shefika, Shani

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My Old School

My old school is special.  When I say old school, I mean my high school/secondary school, which I attended from Year 7 all the way through to Sixth Form.  My school wasn’t special in the way you might think – there was no crazy state of the art technology or any particularly specialist buildings.  It was special, because of the way it helped me grow and become the person I am today.

I enjoyed learning new facts and developing new skills in my different lessons, especially during my GCSE and A-level years, which I really loved.  Most of my lessons led to me making some really good friends with different and unique personalities, who I still keep in contact with and know will be friends for life.  However, it was my teachers that really made my school years special.

My teachers taught me many valuable lessons and helped me to gain new skills that would help me in the future, while teaching me more about the subjects on my timetable.

In Year 11, Ms Evans helped me truly appreciate and understand Maths, so I actually started to like it.  In Year 10, Mr Thomas would not move me down a set and he convinced me that I was good enough to do Triple Science at GCSE.

My GCSE Art teacher, Ms Radcliffe, really encouraged me as an artist, appreciated my work and helped me to feel that I actually could draw.  During A-level Textiles, Ms Gallimore was the fun and fiery teacher who would brighten up our lessons, as well as helping to teach me new sewing skills and making me feel positive about my work.

My form tutor from Years 7-11, Miss Griffin, supported me, believed in me and made me feel that I could take on any subject at GCSE level.  My A-level form tutor, Ms Sule, was like a supportive loving mother to us and she always had advice for me about going into fashion.

However, there were two teachers that will always have a really special place in my heart and I want to make sure that I never lose touch with them.  They not only taught me, pushed me, and guided me, but they also looked out for me and took the time to form a proper relationship with me over the years, so that I felt comfortable talking to them about more than just work.

Mrs Tavares was my English teacher from the SATS in Year 9 through to my A-level English Literature in Year 13.  She is a truly amazing teacher who made English lessons enjoyable as well as informative, adding a personal touch as we studied each text.

We could all see that she truly loved reading and she never failed to make us laugh.  However, what was most special was that we could see that she truly liked us as a class and cared about how we performed as students.  She would make sure all aspects of the text were covered, so that when coursework and exam time came, we were ready.

Mrs Tavares would always spend time speaking to me and my friends well after class was over, taking a genuine interest in our lives.  This created a closer bond between us, which would grow throughout the years, making her almost like a friend.

Ms Horsington was my Textiles teacher, all the way from Year 7 through to Year 13.  There was no teacher who had seen me grow and develop more than her, especially as fashion was the field that I wanted to go into in the future.

She would help me and spur me on me when I struggled, but she would really push me when she knew I could do better.  Ms Horsington would inspire me and she is actually one of the reasons I decided to go into fashion, because she helped me to believe that my work was gorgeous and that I could do it.

I don’t think any teacher gave me more words of encouragement than Ms Horsington and I really appreciate it.  However, she not only encouraged me as a student, but as a person.  Like Mrs Tavares, she took time out to get to know our small Textiles class, and she really went the extra mile when helping us with our work.  I don’t think any of us knew where we would be without her.  Ms Horsington truly appreciated us, so we truly appreciated her.

I had some great teachers, but there were some that were truly amazing, because they not only taught me well and knew what they were talking about, but they went the extra mile when teaching me and took the time to get to know me as a person.

These teachers are the reason why I make sure I visit my old school at least once during the year, as the impact they had on my life is priceless.  I still go back to them for help and advice now, which they never fail to give me.  I just hope they know how much I miss them and truly appreciate the lessons they taught me…