Student, homeless at 16 and went through care, graduates Cambridge

Aspiring writer who was homeless at 16 becomes first student who grew up in care to graduate from her Cambridge University college after achieving 2:1 in English Literature

  • Kasmira Kincaid was homeless at 16 and ‘missed half of high school’ education 
  • She went through several foster placements and completed A-levels living alone 
  • Through hard work she gained a place to study English Literature at Cambridge 
  • Now she is the first ever care leaver to graduate from Corpus Christi College 

Kasmira Kincaid is the first student who grew up in care to graduate Corpus Christi college Cambridge

A student who was once homeless is celebrating becoming the first ever care leaver to graduate from her college at Cambridge University.

‘Exceptionally talented’ Kasmira Kincaid, from Lampeter, Ceredigion, announced on Wednesday that she is graduating with a 2:1 degree in English Literature from the world-renowned university.

Her achievement marks her as the first care leaver to graduate from Corpus Christi College in its 668 year history, and she has gone viral online as a result of the inspiring news.

The 25-year-old joins other notable alumni including actor Hugh Bonneville and playwright Christopher Marlowe, who also studied at the notable college.

In a tweet posted on Wednesday Kasmira revealed that her feat was accomplished despite numerous obstacles, including being made homeless at 16.

Although she ‘missed half of high school’, determined Kasmira managed to achieve her life long dream and was accepted into the esteemed institution.

A delighted Kasmira took to social media to share her amazing achievement, saying: ‘Today I became the first care leaver ever to graduate from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

‘Not bad for someone who missed most of secondary school, went through half a dozen foster placements, was homeless at 16, and completed her A-levels living alone on benefits.’

Her achievement marks her as the first care leaver to graduate from Corpus Christi College in its rich 668 year history

Kasmira Kincaid (seen at the back, far right) pictured with her friends at the University

It’s estimated that around 6% of care leavers go into higher education, with the percentage even smaller for those attending Oxbridge.

So Kasmira’s tweet, which has since clocked up almost 70,000 likes, has prompted an outpouring of support.

Author Lemn Sissay MBE wrote: ‘Dear you! We spoke a long time ago. And look at you now. You bright brilliant star.’

Another social media user added: ‘Congratulations! As a care leaver myself who was declared homeless twice during my A-Levels seeing this sort of thing is incredibly inspiring.’

And one woman wrote: ‘Well done. Your determination leaves me in awe. Wonderful achievements. What will you do next?’

Speaking today, Kasmira confirmed she is working on her first novel. She said: ‘For the last few years I’ve been working on my debut novel. So that’s the plan, really, become a writer. Of novels, mainly.

Kasmira (right) with friends Alice (left) and Jo (middle). She has now gone viral online after celebrating her achievements via social media

‘Although, I’d love to branch out into TV and film as well. If they ever let me write an episode of Doctor Who, I’ll die happy.

‘I always knew I wanted to apply to Oxbridge. It was a bit weird and alienating at times, a lot of strange archaic rules.

‘But one of the great things about Cambridge is that there’s so much going on that, no matter how strange you think you are, they’ll always be a club or society for your particular niche or interests.

‘Although I am the first care leaver to graduate from Corpus, I’m not the first to graduate Cambridge. Nor was I the only care leaver there during my time there.

‘It’s a tougher journey, sure. But I believe every child in care is capable of doing every bit as well as their peers.

‘My achievement didn’t seem all that astonishing until I tried to sum it up in a Tweet!

‘It took me a little longer than most people to get here, but I am quite proud of myself.

‘I’m hoping, since I’ve had more than my fair share of adversity so far, it’ll be plain sailing from here on out.’

Dr Marina Frasca-Spada, Senior Tutor of Corpus Christi College, added: ‘Kasmira (or Vashti, as we all know her at Corpus Christi College) is an exceptionally talented young woman who has succeeded after living through very difficult experiences.

‘It has been a pleasure to come to know her and to be able to support her during her years at Corpus.

‘We have enjoyed discussing both her academic and her creative work, and I am delighted with her personal and academic achievements.’

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