“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 like lunch because you eat lots of things like pasta."
“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.
“In Year 7, I broke the record for javelin - I think my attitude to sport transfers into academic study.”
I joined Forest in Year 7 and in my first year I broke the school javelin record. Although I enjoy sport a lot, I think my attitude to sport definitely transfers into my academic studies too. For instance, I really like Science; I find it exciting because it is challenging whereas if I find things too easy I quickly get bored! And that’s been the same with my learning outside the classroom where the challenge to be successful has pushed me on in hockey as I have progressed to be part of the England U.16 squad this year. However, when I’m older I still want to be a lawyer.
"I want to be a pediatrician when I grow up."
“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 want to be an artist when I grow up."
“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’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 an athlete 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.
"I like Art and Drama because they enable me to be artistic and explore different ideas."
“At Forest we have really good coaches. Sport here gave me the pathway to play for the Leyton Orient academy.”
I have been at Forest now for a long time, starting in Reception thirteen years ago! Over that time Forest has helped me develop by giving me freedom to express myself and by not being an oppressive place to learn, although we certainly work pretty hard. I have had some great teachers too. Another thing is that the pupil body here is fantastically diverse, so you learn to deal with different types of people and, as I have done, to enjoy being friends with people from so many different backgrounds.
Whatever I do (and I’ve just started learning to play guitar) my motivation is that I like to do well - I have always been competitive. Learning an instrument was really difficult but I have persevered and already performed in public. Music balances all the football I play for School and Club. If I’m honest, I also really like having a younger brother at Forest - it is nice seeing him around the School. It’s a family school.
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