A second graduate, Andria Zafirakou, who teaches art and textiles at Alperton Community School in Brent, was appointed MBE for her services to education and young people.
Andria, who was awarded a degree in Fashion Textiles Design with Business Studies from the University of Brighton in 2002, became the first UK winner of the Global Teacher Prize last year. She beat teachers nominated from more than 170 countries to win a prize worth $1m (£790,000).
Since Mrs Zafirakou joined Alperton in 2005, she has set up a boxing club, redesigned the curriculum to improve access for every student, and even conducted personal patrols outside the school to deter gang members from trying to recruit her pupils. She has also visited students in their homes and learned basic phrases in languages such as Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati to engage with her pupils.
Andria described the honour as a “wonderful surprise” and spoke highly of her time at the university.
She said: “I loved it at the University of Brighton. I was in the arts building and for me, this was home. I’d visit every department and collaborate with people, in graphic arts, in print making. For me, it was a time when I really found myself. I got to explore and challenge myself, and everyone there was positive and supportive – the tutors were top class.
“Being at the University of Brighton was the highlight of my life.”