A schoolgirl from Ukraine is heading to prestigious Harvard University in America – via a school in Shropshire.

Oksana Trefanenko, who is originally from Chernivtsi, opened her acceptance to the well- known university just as an air raid alert sounded in her city – signalling a danger of missiles.

The 18-year-old is studying for her International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma at Ellesmere College. She joined the Shropshire school in September 2022 and received an unconditional offer from Harvard this spring.

She said: “I am still in disbelief and genuinely cannot believe it!

“I am so delighted that I have been offered a place at Harvard in the class of 2028. I opened the decision email when there was an air alert in my city and the danger of missiles, which only added to my emotions.

“The support from everyone at Ellesmere College accompanied me throughout the application process, and I will be forever grateful for it. I cannot wait to start my studies!”

Oksana is studying six subjects for her IB in addition to the Theory of Knowledge, they are history, English Language and Literature and Geography as well as maths, biology and German.

She will join the Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts in September to study for a four year undergraduate degree – taking courses across different subjects in her first two years, before choosing a major in her junior year, the third year.

Intending to study International Relations, Oksana hopes to major in either Social Studies or Government and minor in language.

She gained a place at Ellesmere College after getting an HMC Projects (Heads’ Conference) Scholarship that allows Central and Eastern European students to study for two years in British independent schools.

Oksana took full advantage of this opportunity by joining various school activities, including participating in Competitive House Events, leading the Model UN club, volunteering, and even being elected Head Girl for her final school year.

Last summer she was awarded a full scholarship to Yale University’s Yale Young Global Scholars summer program, where she joined students from around the world in an in-depth study of solutions to modern global challenges.

Vicky Pritt-Roberts, acting Head of Ellesmere College, said everyone at the school is delighted that Oksana is going to the United States.

“We are thrilled for Oksana and her offer to study at Harvard University,” she said.

“She has been a brilliant addition to Ellesmere College during her time with us and has had a significant impact both on the students and staff here. Not only has she learnt a lot in the classroom and all her extra-curricular work and activities, but I am positive that many of her peers have also learnt a lot from her.

“We are delighted that we have played a small part in her educational development and really look forward to following her progress once she leaves Ellesmere this summer.

“Oksana is a great example of the impact the HMC Scholarship can have on a young person, and we hope to be able to positively impact many more young people from across Central and Eastern Europe as part of the scheme in coming years.”

For more information about Ellesmere College, visit www.ellesmere.com.

Oksana Trefanenko.