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May 10th 2023

Mighty Girls inspired by 'Big, crazy dreams' with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Pupils at the Junior School were honoured to meet renowned space scientist and presenter of The Sky at Night and Cbeebies Stargazing, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, at a special assembly to launch the Mighty Girls Challenge.  

Dr Maggie was wowed by a demonstration of some of the achievements of our amazing Mighty Girls, which included learning a language, trying out a new skill such as juggling, upcycling old clothes into new items, building a bird feeder and learning key phrases in sign language.  

She then inspired pupils with the incredible story of her own achievements: her early life as a shy schoolgirl who attended 13 different schools and dreamed of visiting the Clangers’ planet; her journey with her ‘superpower’ dyslexia; her fascination with science and determination to become a scientist; and her most recent achievements which include meeting the late Queen, being appointed Chancellor of the University of Leicester, and being memorialised as a Barbie doll.  

The Mighty Girls Challenge began life in June 2021 as an activity-based programme, designed to inspire students to be Ambitious, Brave and Curious (ABC), and foster the key skills the UN predicts will be central to the future workplace including resilience, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. This is the first Mighty Girl Challenge awards ceremony to take place, raising awareness of the impressive achievements of the Years 3 and 4 students who have completed many of their challenges, and inspiring pupils in Year 2 who are about to embark on the programme.  

Picking up on the Mighty Girl ABC themes, Dr Maggie explored the importance of curiosity in education, of growing diversity and equality in STEM, of being brave enough to pursue “big, crazy dreams – the bigger the better”. She spoke of her role models, who included NASA ‘computer’ Katherine Johnson, Marie Curie and her Nobel-prize winning chemist daughter Irene Joliot-Curie, mathematician Gladys West who invented GPS and Yuri Gagarin, whose first journey into space laid the foundations for her own ambitious spirit. 

At the end of the assembly, pupils from Year 6 awarded Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock with an Honorary Mighty Girl certificate, in recognition of her own Ambition, Bravery & Curiosity. 

Head of the Junior School Sarah Skevington commented, “Dr Maggie was captivating – her talk was so relevant and so inspiring for our budding scientists, mathematicians and space explorers, and for all girls. Her story of resilience and ambition was remarkable and one our girls – as well as attending staff and parents - will remember forever. We hope her wise words will inspire the next generation of Blackheath High School students to be curious and push themselves to dream big. 

“I was humbled by the amazing achievements of our students in this year’s Mighty Girl Challenge Programme and delighted that their hard work has been recognised at such a successful event. I am also extremely proud of the Mighty Girls Challenge and what it helps our pupils to aim for and achieve. It was born out of a Year 6 feminist club which meets to discuss issues of equality, diversity and representation, and has come to embody what our school stands for – Blackheath High School is a girls-first setting where every subject is a girls’ subject and there are no barriers to success.” 

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