Excellent results at A-level lead to terrific opportunities

  • Public Health Wales

30 September 2021

Two medics, one medical school

Cian Durkin and Ethan Pritchard have long been contemporaries at St John Baptist High School and are now both going to Exeter University to train to be Doctors. Both students have long been committed to becoming Doctors and, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, have undertaken as many experiences as possible to prepare themselves for their next steps. These include experiences through Seren Hub, virtual medical work experiences and the Sutton Trust. As befitting of future Doctors, both students have focussed on helping others, whether this be other pupils at St John’s or through their respective churches. Dr Mitchell, Headteacher, said “Cian and Ethan have been fantastic pupils, and superb ambassadors as Head Boy and Deputy head Boy”, while Mr Loveridge added “It has been a pleasure helping both boys achieve their goals. I’m sure they will go on to be great Doctors”. While they may be contemporaries, there is one difference – Ethan will be starting at Exeter this year, while Cian has deferred for a year. All at St John’s wish them luck.

Sutton Trust US programme

Finleyrose has created a fantastic story during her time at St John Baptist High School. At the end of Key Stage 2 Finleyrose had ‘below average’ in her SATs assessments and was receiving extra support in different areas. However, her steely determination, fantastic support from her mother and Nan, along with her teachers’ guidance have seen her go on to achieve at least an A grade in all her GCSE, AS and A-levels. Finleyrose’s mother, while extremely proud of her achievements, says ‘if Finleyrose can do it, anyone can’.

Finleyrose’s level of academic success enabled her the opportunity to be part of the Seren Hub programme, and while a fully active member of this, she also sought out other opportunities to develop her knowledge, skills and understanding, especially around her passion forlanguage. For example, to enhance her knowledge of French and France Finleyrose listens to French radio stations and watches French films. She is a member of a global online group, conversing in French, and takes the French language paper ‘Le Monde’, as well as reading French texts, both fictional and factual. Finleyrose is not only keen on expanding her own knowledge of languages, but also shares this passion with others, while supporting others. In the online group she is a member of, Finleyrose helps first language French speakers with their English. She also assisted younger pupils in St John’s during their languages lessons and in neighbouring schools too, often making online resources.

While being offered places at all the Universities she applied for in the UK (including St Andrew’s and Exeter), she had her heart set on attending a University in the US. She was accepted onto the Sutton Trust US programme and, while being unable to travel to the US due to the current pandemic, has taken part in a number of events through it. This included a range of virtual events with US Colleges, including discussions with admissions tutors. Again, she had a number of offers, and accepted the International Studies course (majoring in French) at Soka University of America in California, a highly regarded University that has the aim of ‘cultivating global citizens and critical thinkers with expansive worldviews prepared to provide leadership in a rapidly changing world’. Finleyrose, being Finleyrose, was not prepared to stop there. She also applied for a highly competitive scholarship, which involved a series of rounds, including a number of interviews, and Finleyrose was the only candidate from Europe to make the final 25. She was successful and it was based purely on Finleyrose’s academic ability! In the awarding letter, the scholarship stated ‘you have been chosen to receive this scholarship from one of the most diverse and talented pools ever to be admitted to Soka University of America’.

Needless to say, her family, friends and the whole community at St John’s are proud of Finleyrose, not only because of her achievements, but because of the person she has developed in to. Having achieved 2A* and 2A grades in her A-levels, Finleyrose is already in California, saying that she has been made to feel really welcome, and is raring to start the next step in her adventure!

Law at Cambridge University

Kaya has long been identified by St John Baptist High School as a pupil who was capable of going on to be highly successful. However, it is one thing to be spotted as having potential, but another to go on and fulfil it, but Kaya has done just this by achieving the requirements to study Law at Cambridge University. While her academic success is remarkable (10A*/A grades at GCSE, 3 As at AS level and 3 A* grades at A-level), it is the drive and commitment she has shown in learning more about her chosen study area that makes her stand out. This includes attending lectures by QCs, meeting the Lord Chancellor, the Rt Hon. Robert Buckland QC and being selected for the prestigious Lord Edmund-Davies Legal Education Trust summer scheme. This has been supported by attending lectures through Seren Hub and her voracious reading of books and articles connected to the law. Mr Loveridge, Head of Form 6, stated that “It has been clear for some time that Kaya was destined to go to a top level University, and I’m so pleased that she has achieved her dream of reading Law at Cambridge University”.

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