21 Jun Graduating from the Warwick Sutton Scholarship programme
Warwick Sutton Scholars is a two year programme at Warwick University, for highly able Year 8 and 9 students who come from backgrounds that are under-represented in higher education. The programme is open to schools from across the West Midlands. The programme is designed to stretch and challenge students academically and inspire them to consider university in the future.
Written by Holly – Year 9 student
On Saturday 8th June 2019, five Year 9 students got ready to graduate from the Warwick Sutton Scholarship programme at Warwick University. Looking back over our journey over the last two years, we had worked on several interesting projects, and learned lots about university life that wouldn’t have been possible in our normal school lessons.
As soon as we (my family and I) entered the spacious and modern Oculus building, we could sense the excitement of the day ahead, and after all the scholars had signed in, it was time to collect their graduation caps and gowns. Black for groups 1 to 6, and blue for 7 to 12.
At 10am, once everybody had entered the theatre, Maria (the Widening Participation Coordinator) quickly went through the rules on housekeeping, and the scholars separated into their groups to do final touches for the presentations we were to make to our adult audience. During those 30 minutes of group preparations, we found ourselves reflecting on what we had all achieved during our first and second year of the scholarship programme. We had been introduced to the academic writing process, worked on global sustainable development projects, and introduced to ideas that will help us on our GCSE exam journey.
At 10:50 am, it was time for the first groups to make their presentations. They spoke passionately about their ideas to tackle global warming and food shortages, with one group even suggesting using insects as a source of protein for human consumption! They then answered the judges’ questions clearly and intelligently.
By midday, anticipation was building in the theatre, as the last group concluded their speeches. The question everybody was thinking about was who the winner would be? Each scholar received a certificate, a stress ball and wristband from the Warwick Sutton Scholarship programme staff. Then it was time for photos for a final time!
Eventually, the judges’ returned to announce the winning presentation, to the audience’s delight. The winners were group 7, who came up with their inventive creation of an app to promote healthy eating. However, like Maria Kehr (the Widening Participation Coordinator) said, the real winners were actually each of us, sitting there, in the front rows and in front of our very proud parents and grand-parents! Thunderous applause concluded the event.
We were then instructed to go outside for a final photo, where the whole cohort threw their caps in the air as a final celebration! Eventually, caps and gowns were returned, and thanks given to those who made our time at Warwick University so enjoyable. We left the Oculus room with smiles on our faces, looking for our next opportunity.
Thank you for reading my blog!