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Aimhigher Leicestershire celebrates win at International Space Olympics

by Guest Blogger 2. December 2009 16:23


A Leicester student is the first non-Russian to be crowned winner of this year's International Space Olympics, after four Leicester colleges received funding from Aimhigher Leicester City and Leicestershire. Jonathan Bootle, 17, from Evington in Leicester, was crowned winner after he  travelled to Moscow to compete in the prestigious competition. His achievement was remarkable as it was the first time in 17 years that the title did not go to a teenager from the host country. His experience included a chance to speak to astronauts in the International Space Station. 

The competition sees students from all over the world take exams in maths, physics and creative writing – all based on space-related questions. In total 24 A-level students from four Leicester colleges attended, spending 10 days in Moscow. Several won prizes. Jonathan, a student of Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester, said it was an amazing experience. He said: "I couldn't believe it when they said I'd won. I honestly would have never believed that could have happened. It's certainly something to talk about in my interviews to get into university.” Jonathan's prize was a Gagarin Medal and a certificate enrolling him into the Cosmonautics Federation of Russia. 

The team was led by Gateway College teacher Stuart Gill, backed by colleagues from other colleges. He won a Gagarin medal in recognition of the 10th time he had brought students to the Russian capital. He said: "It's a fantastic education opportunity for students. They mature tremendously and make friends for life. This year is an overwhelming achievement. They've done Leicester very proud." 

Neil Stock, co-ordinator for Aimhigher, which encourages students from backgrounds who would not normally consider going to university, said: "We want to stretch and challenge the more able students to go on to higher education and the International Space Olympics does just that."

Aimhigher Leicestershire: 

Neil Stock, Aimhigher Leicestershire

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The views expressed in this Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the East Midlands STEM Partnership, its partners or funders, including East Midlands Development Agency.


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