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Teenager helps college

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:25 01 August 2010

YOU can almost imagine the reaction if you told a teenager he would have to give up socialising with his friends at lunchtime to help run his college.

YOU can almost imagine the reaction if you told a teenager he would have to give up socialising with his friends at lunchtime to help run his college.

But for Rory Swan, from Claxton, the chance to have a major input into how Great Yarmouth College operates was not one to be missed.

The eagerness of Rory to sit on the governing body and students' union is all the more remarkable when you consider he has to cope with living with cerebral palsy every day.

And, in another riposte to clichés of teenagers spending all their time on Facebook and mobile phones, 19-year-old Rory is running a string of businesses, too.

On Wednesday, Rory chaired a meeting of the students' union finances committee and was planning how to promote equality and diversity at the college's next board of governors meeting.

Rory, who uses a wheelchair to get around, said: “I wanted to get involved in all aspects of the college as it is extremely important to give students a voice. You don't just have to be physically able to be able to get involved.”

As well as his student responsibilities, Rory, who is in the final year of a BTEC information technology course, has set up five computing-based businesses.

Among these, he runs the animation design company, Dragonglare, with his college course friend, Lawrie Sinclair MacDonald, from Beccles.

The pals hope to create animations for adverts in the vein of Wallace & Gromit or Oscar-winning Hollywood company Pixar. Lawrie said: “Rory always has something up his sleeve and still astonishes me when he tells me what he is getting up to.”

Rory praised the college community for making him feel at home and said it was brilliant that his views were being taken on board by bosses there.

He hopes to go on to study for a degree in IT at the college from September and to extend his computing portfolio.

John Carpenter, learning support assistant at Yarmouth College, said: “It is completely outstanding what Rory has done at the college so far.

“He has not let his cerebral palsy get in the way of what he wants to achieve here.”

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