Spotlight: our Year 10 Sports Scholar Tara
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Every January, Blackheath High welcomes three gap students from the other side of the world who are keen to experience life in London and gain work experience. The girls rotate their time between the Junior and Senior schools and get a real insight into life at Blackheath High. Gap girls Jess, Annabel and Katya tell us more:
What is your role and what does it involve?
Jess: We are ‘Gap Tutors’ which involves admin work (supporting both teachers and office staff at the Senior school) and working with the younger girls at the Junior school.
Katya: At Junior school, this includes breakfast and holding club.
How long have you worked here?
Jess: We started work in January when we all moved to the UK and have split our time between the Junior and Senior schools since then.
Why did you decide to come to Blackheath High?
Katya: I wanted to take a gap year to work and travel overseas. I’ve been so lucky to end up at Blackheath High, it has been such a wonderful experience to live in another country and work at such an amazing school, and I have had so many unique opportunities from doing this.
Annabel: I chose to take a gap year before studying and wanted to keep myself busy working during that time.
Jess: A gap year in the UK was very appealing, I had no clue what I wanted to do for a career and was loathe to follow my friends to university ‘just because’. London offered the chance to get out of home and into a much bigger city. This year has been incredibly valuable both in school and out – I have learned so much about myself and about the world. I’ve also gained a lot of knowledge and experience about working in a professional environment - something that not a lot of fresh high school graduates are offered.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Annabel: Being able to feel as though I am making a difference, either with the children or in the lives of those I am helping.
Katya: Working with the students, spending time outdoors at the sports field.
Jess: I love going to the field and getting involved with PE lessons and fixtures. I have also really enjoyed seeing the other side of school so soon after graduating - what goes on behind the scenes and how much leg work is required to keep a busy school running. It may be cheesy but I appreciate my teachers so much more now!
What do you enjoy most about working at Blackheath High?
Jess: The environment at Blackheath High is such a welcoming one, from students and staff alike. Everyone has made us feel at home here and it’s made the work so much more enjoyable.
Annabel: The staff and children are special and make the experience enjoyable.
Katya: It’s such a unique school with so many great opportunities. The girls are all so lovely and it’s such a wonderful environment to work in. All the students and staff are always so nice and friendly. It’s been really great to get to know everybody here.
What is unique about Blackheath High?
Jess: Blackheath High is a world away from my high school and home. Blackheath High is a lot smaller than my school of 1700 and being an all girls’ school, it has a totally different feel which is a nice change. It is great to see so many feminist values being pushed within the school to empower the girls, to nurture ambition and a hunger for success.
Katya: I have been blown away by how incredible the staff and students are here. The students are so lucky to go here and it has been so wonderful to see how the staff go above and beyond to make their time here so valuable. I was also so impressed with all of the clubs and co-curricular activities that are available.
Annabel: The children at the school are genuinely lovely and very kind hearted.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Jess: The last few months of 2016 - sitting my final exams, graduating, working part-time throughout, packing my life into two suitcases and moving out of home, leaving everyone behind to fly halfway across the world to Blackheath High. It was a whirlwind of emotion and it took a while to acclimatise but it is something I am immensely proud of and would likely do again at some point!
Annabel: Being away from family.
Katya: Being fresh out of school and going from being a student to a member of staff and living independently. We’ve all grown so much this year and it has been such a great way to develop independence and life skills.
Tell us something surprising about yourself
Jess: I am of Maori descent and can speak a little of the Te Reo language which is dying out of our culture.
Katya: I was named after a famous skier!
Annabel: I used to be very musical when I was younger, playing both the guitar and cello. Sadly, I don’t remember how to play either of them!