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Breaking out: how young people can bring their dreams to life

A banner reading 'Celebrating Black History Month in Newham'

To celebrate Black History Month Reece St John-Commey charts his journey from Newham to the brink of an inspiring future. 

Reece St John-Commey
Reece St John-Commey

My educational journey started in Newham, attending Rokeby School and later moving on to Chobham Academy for the sixth form years. These schools provided a solid education and shaped my character, not least instilling values like perseverance and ambition. 

My journey has continued to the University of Warwick. As I now enter my third year, I am proud to represent Newham. My time here has exposed me to a world of diverse experiences and cultures, broadening my horizons and reinforcing the importance of education. 

Beyond academic pursuits, I have ventured into the community as a support worker and a volunteer at Ashok’s Vision International (AVI), a youth-led mental health charity based in Forest Gate. 

The charity’s mission is to nurture young people to reconnect with nature and biodiversity, by creating local opportunities to lead on greening and cleaning projects that impact globally. 

These experiences are transformative. I witness the strength and potential of Newham’s youth, and it fuels my determination to make a difference. My journey as a volunteer and now as a trustee at AVI has exposed me to the intricacies of governance and organisational development. This not only enriches my skill set but gives me the opportunity to help make a difference in our community. 

One of the most significant milestones in my journey was earning a training contract at Linklaters, a prestigious law firm. It wasn’t straightforward, but my background and experiences in Newham gave me a unique perspective that set me apart. 

It’s all a testament to the power of perseverance, community support, and the drive to make a positive impact and proof that dreams born in Newham can take you to incredible places. 

I’m set on a path to becoming a qualified lawyer at one of the world’s top law firms. There are more challenges – rigorous legal training, work on real client cases, and collaboration with experienced lawyers – but iIt’s a stepping stone to a rewarding legal career and the opportunity to specialise in various legal areas within the firm. Ultimately, successful completion of the training contract leads to my qualification as a solicitor, with opportunities for career advancement and specialisation. 

My experience makes me feel that as we celebrate Black History Month, we should send a strong message to the youth of Newham: your background and experiences are your strengths. Education is vital, but so are the life experiences that shape your character. I hope my journey serves as an inspiration. 

Dream big, work hard, and use your unique perspective to your advantage. Embrace opportunities to give back to your community, and you’ll be amazed at the doors that open. 

I am also proud to represent the Ghanaian community in Newham. My Ghanaian heritage has provided me with a rich cultural background and an unyielding source of strength and determination. Above all, I have heartfelt gratitude to my parents, who have been my unwavering pillars of support and influence. Their guidance and encouragement have been instrumental in shaping my path. To them and all my friends and family – thank you for your belief in me.

Reece is a final year law student at the University of Warwick, Co-Founder of Jurisguidance, a Trustee at Ashok’s Vision International and future trainee solicitor at Linklater

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