Former student, Tatiana Draper, has been awarded Young Achiever of the Year at the national YMCA Youth Matters Awards.

The Young Achiever of the Year award recognises young people who have overcome significant obstacles to make a real difference to their lives and community. Tatiana took the award after a tough judge’s shortlisting and online vote. As well as being profoundly Deaf, Tatiana, was also born with cerebral palsy and predominantly uses a wheelchair for mobility. However, her “live life to the full” attitude has seen her achieve even more since her time here at the Deaf Academy.

Finishing her art course at our college in 2014, Tatiana has been supported at YMCA Exeter. At the centre she continued her hobbies of swimming, horse riding and dancing, set up a weekly BSL class for other users and has helped shaped the community further by sharing her views and ideas. Tim Wells, who runs the Health and Activities Programme at YMCA Exeter, commented, “she is truly a gift to the YMCA community”.

It’s clear Tatiana has made fantastic progress and is continuing towards independence with her inspirational attitude to life. All staff and students would like to congratulate Tatiana on her success and we’re sure we’ll be hearing more from her in the future.