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Meet Olivia (Merchants, Year 13)

Date Posted: Friday 26 February 2021

Tell us a bit about your experience of Ashford School until now.  

  • Ashford School has been a huge part of my life, having joined the School at age 3 in the Nursery!
  • I have many happy memories from my time growing up at the Prep School. Netball was always my favourite thing to do at School, and in particular playing in matches with my friends. I also remember being extremely excited when the Prep School moved from East Hill to Great Chart when I was in Year 2.
  • I always looked forward to moving into the Senior School, especially as I got to watch my older brother Zak (Merchants, 2017) go before me and enjoy the experience.  When I did move to East Hill in Year 7, I never thought I would be able to find my way around School!
  • My time in the Senior School has absolutely flown by, and now I can’t quite believe that I have almost finished Year 13! Currently, I am studying for A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. These have definitely been challenging subjects, but they have always been the ones that have loved and enjoyed the most.

Tell us about your favourite memory at Ashford School to date. 

  • I remember how amazing I felt when we finished our last GCSE exam the relief was incredible, and everyone was so happy.  Also, as simple as it sounds, just the little things like uncontrollably laughing with my friends about nothing at lunch time! Without realising it, those are the memories and things that I will miss when I leave Ashford School.

Is there a particular teacher who has inspired you and helped you to reach where you are today? Who and how?

  • I am extremely grateful for all my teachers, and they have all had an impact on me and where I am today.
  • In particular, since I started at the Senior School as a Year 7, Mrs Walsh (Director of Swimming & Multi Sports) has always supported me in everything I have done, which I am so grateful for. Even if she’s having to deal with me moaning at Monday morning swim training at 7am that I am tired!!
  • More recently during my time in the Sixth Form, Mrs Miller (Head of Sixth Form) has been incredibly supportive, always having time for us. I have really appreciated her guidance and advice, so thank you to Mrs Miller!

What clubs do you take part in, and what do you enjoy about them most?  

  • Sport and Music have been a huge part of my Ashford School experience!
  • Since Year 7,  I have enjoyed being in the School Hockey and Netball teams, and I have loved representing the School and competing in matches and tournaments. I have also been a part of the swimming team which I have thoroughly enjoyed as swimming has always been one of my favourite sports, despite the early morning starts!
  • I have also been in the Senior School orchestra since Year 7. I wasn’t very confident in Music, but I am so glad that I persevered with it, as I really enjoy performing in the concerts at the end of each term. I was lucky enough to be one of the pupils chosen to be in the Pit Band Orchestra for last year’s musical performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. This was definitely a musical highlight for me!

What has been your most rewarding moment at Ashford School?  

  • I would say GCSE results day! This was the first time I truly realised that hard work pays off and I was very proud of my achievements.
  • I always love Activities Week at the end of the academic year when there are various House Competitions. This is a fantastic opportunity to have fun with other students in our House and to look back on the School year that goes by so very quickly.

As Head Girl,  what does it mean to you to be a leader at School? What do you hope to achieve in your year in post?

  • I believe that a School leader should be a role model to younger pupils, encourage others to try new things, and demonstrate that through commitment and hard work they can achieve their goals.
  • My year as Head Girl has not been what I anticipated; however, together with Sam, the Head Boy, we successfully launched a new initiative in the senior school – a School Parliament! This has been exciting to develop and has shown that students, despite all the challenges they are currently facing, are willing to help and work to make changes to improve our school experience.

What opportunities does Ashford School offer that you feel are extending your skills and helping you prepare for life after School? 

  • I think all the extra-curricular activities offered allow students to explore, and to find what they enjoy, what they excel at, and thus what they may wish to explore further in the future.  Also, our teachers’ support, guidance, and encouragement to work hard most certainly prepares us for what the future holds.

What are your ambitions for when you leave Ashford School? 

  • My passion and goal is to train as a doctor and work in the NHS.  During the past year, I have been particularly inspired by our front-line healthcare professionals who risk their lives on a daily basis in order to help and care for others. Ashford School has helped to build my self-belief, and I am confident that with hard work and dedication I can achieve this career goal.

How have you found the past year, and how have you coped with lockdown? 

  • Of course, this year has been difficult for everyone in different ways, but I am lucky to have had support from friends and family which I have valued tremendously.
  • I have enjoyed going on woodland walks and training our new puppy Dora, who never fails to make me smile if I am ever feeling down!
  • I also completed ‘CouchTo5k’ which was a nice way to get back into running, and is now an activity I try to do on a regular basis.
  • One thing that I have learned from the past year is how quickly a year can fly by! I cannot believe that we are coming up to a year since COVID-19.

How have you found online learning? What benefits have there been? 

  • For me, online learning has worked really well, and our teachers have made the best out of a challenging situation.
  • Of course, the lack of interaction with my fellow students and teachers has been hard but we are not behind on any of our courses which is something to be proud of, and I have enjoyed the extra half an hour lay in in the mornings!
  • Another thing I have enjoyed is the extra time in the weekdays to bake and find a moment to relax, which are activities I often would not be able to fit into my weekday evenings.