“Forest encourages everyone to excel at what they're good at, and celebrates who they are.”
On arrival, I immediately fell in love with the school, the location and the buzz around the place. I I have always loved music and in my first year I played a trumpet concerto with an orchestra – how many people get that opportunity! The Music Department staff here are fantastic and there are concerts nearly every week. But it’s not just music; Forest encourages everyone to improve at what they're good at, to try new things, and celebrates pupils’ achievements whoever they are. In addition to music, I run the Amnesty International Group. Since Year 9, we have raised £3,000. As part of a recent campaign we wrote letters to MPs about the refugee crisis, campaigning for children to be allowed into our country.
“I am really interested in journalism. For Park News (a weekly newspaper for young people in the UK) I interviewed Tim Peake before he went to space.”
Forest certainly wasn’t as daunting as other schools as I felt there was a warm environment from the very start. Seeing everyone get on so well at Forest made me feel much more at ease.
I don’t know whether the photo shows them, but I have been awarded lots of school badges which reflects the ‘busyness’ of my life at Forest. They include my drama badge for the Lower School Play, as well as one for being a House Monitor. I also took part in House MasterChef making a dark chocolate and raspberry cheesecake for the dessert. That was really cool. Another badge is for public speaking, and best of all is my gold smiley badge which I was awarded for doing an assembly to the Prep School to inspire and encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. Yes, I’m very proud of my badges.
"I want to be an artist when I grow up."
"At Forest, everyone has different interests, so I’m not defined by my music or anything else."
I really enjoy school – I’m told I always have a big smile on my face. Most of all, I’m loving the variety of music here at Forest. I’m in the Sixth Form jazz band and lots of other groups; consequently, most lunch times I can be found in the music block doing something. I’ve been rehearsing for House Music a lot lately which has been really good fun. I also had a role earlier this year in the English National Opera’s production of the Magic Flute which played at the London Coliseum. My costume was really cool and had very weird eyes. A review in ‘What’s On Stage’ said the three boys (I was Third Boy) were an “excellent trio of wizened little man-boys”, so that was exciting. But I’m not just into music, I like sports and art as well. Anything creative, really. At Forest, everyone has different interests, so I’m not defined by my music or anything else. In fact, I have just come back from the annual tour to Barcelona with the U.13 football team, training at the world famous club and playing some local youth teams. That was a very exciting week.
"I like the teachers the best in prep school."
“There are so many opportunities at Forest.”
Forest was very different from my small primary school. Walking around Forest, there would be people I didn’t know but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be because I said ‘hi’ to everyone and they said ‘hi’ back.
The way school is organised helps too, everyone being in both a form and a House. We see our form group every single day in registration and in class, whereas we have weekly House meetings with our Housemistress and the girls in other year groups but do lots of House activities together. The Diamond Structure has helped too. I like being taught in all girl groups, although knowing that you can make friends with boys outside class, like in Drama or Science Club, really helps.
"The best thing about school how many sports we can play."
“I love the Sixth Form is separate to the rest of the School. We have our own space and are treated like adults by our teachers.”
The diamond structure has worked well for me. I feel it’s good to have boys and girls taught separately for the first five years because we do mature in different ways, and then we come together in the Sixth Form where we have our own space and are treated more like young adults.
I have also loved being part of my House from Day 1. It has shaped who I am. As Houses are single-sex, girls are not overshadowed by the boys, or vice versa. Everyone has more confidence to speak out about themselves. I am more outgoing now and have tried new things, such as doing an internship with the Police.
"I would like to be the first woman to step on the moon!"
“The best things about Forest are the co-curricular activities which are really outstanding. ”
Forest has a real sense of community. You feel accepted here and everyone around you is supportive. Personally, this helps me in my music and academic work and through the stressful parts of the school day because life at Forest is pretty hectic. Most days I spend the time before school, during lunch and after school playing music. I play four instruments: violin, piano, guitar, and I sing. I also play football, cricket and basketball. However, being busy has helped me discover the satisfactions of seeing that with anything it takes really hard work to get to the stage you want to be at, but when you do it is so rewarding.
"I like the Pre-Prep because it is bigger than other schools that I have been to before."
"I’m grateful to Forest for giving me the freedom to explore all my interests, no matter how eccentric."
I’m grateful to Forest for giving me the freedom to explore all my interests, no matter how eccentric. Last year, I organised a two-hour comedy night as part of my EPQ (an A-level project-based qualification on your own chosen interest). With access to the school’s resources and facilities, I booked a performance space, designed a set, recruited acts and a tech team and held a ticketed performance in aid of a charity.
Forest also allows me the flexibility to continue acting and voiceover work outside school. Every kind of person is catered for here at Forest, so we are all different and we embrace and respect those differences. Many of my friends didn’t discover their real passions until Forest enabled them to try new things.
"I want to be a pediatrician when I grow up."
“As I plan to study medicine at university, I have arranged a trip to Africa during the summer holidays. I will be spending five days in a private surgery and five days in a public surgery.”
If you come to Forest, just make sure you take every opportunity to get involved in sport, music, drama, work or anything else. I have played saxophone in the Forest School Big Band since Year 8, been on the basketball team since Year 8, and played in a senior jazz ensemble since Year 9. I have also taken part in the Chemistry Olympiad. By taking part in all these things you learn a lot about yourself and other people, as well as having great fun. Forest provides all these opportunities to pursue ambitions and develop skills which will help you as much as academia. I am never bored at Forest – there’s always something going on. Enjoy the community here too. You’ll feel part of something special.
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