Louisa - 2010 leaver
Without doubt, I would not have built the platform that I now have without my time at St Helen's and the generosity and warmth of those who contributed to the bursary fund. The wonderful thing about the School is that even if you're not exceptionally clever, if you have the right mindset, if you are teachable and receptive to the St Helen's environment, the staff will do all that they can for you and consequently the entire direction of your life can change.
I joined St Helen's from a local state school and although I knew that I wanted a career in science, it was very difficult for me to envisage how I would be able to achieve that in the environment I was in. But St Helen's got me to the point where I achieved fabulous exam results - maybe not as high as the many who attained 11 A*s, but certainly enough for me to steer the direction of my life post-school. And now, I have an MSc from Imperial, am working at UCL and am associated with some of the most highly acclaimed immunologists in my field. Considering I was probably the 'least academic' in my friendship group (I was actually the only one amongst my close friends who even got one B at GCSE, let alone three!), I now have one of the most academic jobs of my year group and am making a real contribution to medical science. This all started with the bursary fund at St Helen's.
Our vision for bursaries
Leying - 2013 leaver
There is no question that without a St Helen's bursary I wouldn't have been able to experience the wealth of opportunities that I did. From travelling to Japan for a drama trip and to Germany for a music tour, to representing the UK at the European Youth Parliament and representing the School as a prefect, I look back on every experience at St Helen's with fondness.
However, when I reflect on how I benefitted from my education, I wouldn't choose any of the experiences above as the highlights of my time at St Helen's. Although I am exceedingly proud of them, I wouldn't even choose my examination results. For me, being in an environment where it was cool to be curious, where it wasn't unusual to love learning and where it was OK to be unashamedly enthusiastic, has led me to where I am today. It led me to taking four A-levels in the arts and sciences, it led me to a science degree from Durham and it led me back to the arts as a drama teacher at St Helen's. It will lead me on to a master's degree in Theatre Directing and I'm sure that I will be able to continue tracing my steps and choices back to St Helen's for many years to come. I will forever be grateful for the Foundation bursary for giving me the life-changing gift of becoming a St Helen's girl.