Bradford Grammar School pupil Funmi Ogunde, 18, from Wibsey, will read French after achieveing A*AA grades in French, Spanish and chemistry yesterday.
Her mother, Cheyvonne, died from a heart attack five years ago at the age of 47, and Funmi has spent the last two years living independently after her brother Seun, who also attended Bradford Grammar, moved to the US to study at prestigious American university Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The teenager said her dream of going to Oxford helped her recover from her mother's death. She was also a keen netball player and violinist while at the school, and her teachers even helped her with household chores.
She said: “I’ve lived independently since I started the sixth form and I just kept my head down and focused on what was important, which was getting the grades I needed to go to Oxford.
“Assistant head Mrs Chapman and her husband have been really good, helping to cut my lawn and help me get groceries, and my friends have been great and have always been there if I’ve needed anything.
“I would say to anyone in challenging circumstances to set yourself a goal. No matter what is happening in your life, keep striving for what’s important for you. It makes it a lot easier and gives you the motivation to keep going.
“I pushed myself to get into Oxford. It’s been hard, and I did have some really bad weeks, but with the help of the school and through school counselling sessions, it’s been a lot easier.”
Seun was able to return from MIT, where he is studying maths and physics, to be with his sister when she collected her results.
Bradford Grammar School headteacher Dr Simon Hinchliffe said: “Funmi has shown such courage and fortitude over the last few years. She’s lived on her own throughout the pandemic and her hard work and diligence, along with the support of the BGS family and her friends, has seen her achieve her goal of a place at Oxford University. Our heartfelt congratulations go to this incredible young woman and we wish her every success for the future.”