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Tam Le is one of our Chrysalis Fellows and joined us back in September from The London Academy of Excellence pioneering cohort.

Here Tam shares with us his poignant and inspiring journey to success at LAET. As part of a gap year project, Tam is now working with Highgate before embarking on a degree in Maths and Philosophy at Bristol University next September.

What led me here was the Chrysalis Summer School. Highgate’s Chrysalis Fellows had advertised a job and I was looking for an opportunity to build up my portfolio before university. Working here has taught me some great transferable skills such as communication, leadership and administration. There’s also the fact that I like to help people and really enjoy Highgate – I didn’t quite feel ready to leave the place!”

Tam showcasing the Independent School of the Year for Social Mobility 2019 award 

“Highgate is probably one of the best things that’s happened to me. The teachers are so passionate about their subjects and always give 100%, which has in turn inspired me to work harder and be the best version of myself. Someone once told me that you are only winning when you have defeated and surpassed your own standards, and I am looking forward to doing that!


“I arrived in the UK four years ago, with not much understanding of English. I had to learn everything in a completely different education system. After eighteen months here, I did my GCSEs and then took A levels in Maths, Further Maths and Chemistry. During my two years in sixth form at LAET, Highgate provided me with resources to achieve my goals.

My parents divorced when I was very young; old enough to know vaguely about it but young enough to feel nothing much about it. My mum raised both my brother and I on her own without much help from my biological dad. Mum fought her way through numerous obstacles and sacrificed her youth in order to put a roof over our heads. She didn’t get the chance to attend university due to the effect of the Vietnam War, but put both my brother and I in a top school in Vietnam.

My mum is my one and only inspiration, the person who helped me through everything. You could say that I am like a younger version of her; she has passed on her boldness, courage and resilience to me. With these qualities I have proved you can achieve whatever you want, and I am on my way to pursue a career in investment banking.”


Outside of work…

“I love to go dancing and singing. I also play badminton for Islington, and we recently reached the finals for the Badminton London Youth Game which is a first for us! I was also on the Camden NCS Youth Board, where I’ve helped campaign for Mental Health awareness to support local teenagers. I self-learn everything to do with investment banking – and so my favourite book is ‘A Random Walk down Wall Street’, which is a great read for my career!”

Tam performing at the 2019 KCL Diwali Show

Our Chrysalis Fellows are responsible for supporting partnership teachers, leading their own partnership projects and communicating the impact of Highgate’s partnership work. Since the initiative launch, the team has grown in size and scope. Each cohort of Fellows now includes school leavers from our partner schools, including LAET. Working as a Chrysalis Fellow provides a great insight into building skills that will be useful in a wide variety of future careers including education and project management.