What comes to mind when you think of University admissions? Usually, people will jump straight to grades, which is, of course, a key component of any application. However, it doesn’t end there, especially in countries such as the US. At Alice Smith School, we are keen that our students know they are more than just their grades.
Every one of our students leave a mark by the time they graduate, whether this is from their commitment to EPAs (Exploration Pathways), their contribution in the classroom, or even what they choose to do outside of Alice Smith in their free time. Our students are innovative, creative, committed, and ready to make a difference in the world.
Take Hyatt for example, she has consistently volunteered for Greater Action for two years in their finance team and has selflessly given up her time to make a real difference to the female Afghan population. Her impact is deeply felt by the team she works with and can be seen in the lives of Afghan refugees her work supports. Hyatt says “It's great to see that the work I am doing has a tangible impact on the refugees, allowing them to showcase their work and provide for them via food drives, this gives me a great sense of happiness and accomplishment.”
On the other hand, Freida, who in her free time, writes several articles for a charity called “Choose Change” which encourages teens from over 25 countries to join together to discuss sensitive issues and promote change in their communities. Freida has opened up international conversations about male anorexia, period poverty and many other issues that concern teens around the globe. Her impact will be felt by many who now feel these taboo subjects can be discussed in the open. Reflecting on her impact, Frieda states “I would like all students to know opportunities that align with your passions will always be there and inadvertently, you can end up having a local, national or global impact! The popularity of my article on male anorexia came as a surprise, but it validated my writing about taboo topics, encouraging me to write even more to reduce the stigma surrounding socially sensitive topics.”
Closer to home, we have several students who make a real difference in our EPAs and are the students who drive the change forward. Take Clara for example - as a true eco-warrior, she chaired a meeting with Parents and School Governors along with the British High Commissioner to discuss current sustainability policies and plans for the future - her impact will be felt at Alice Smith long after she has graduated through the policies she will implement. “As sustainability is a topic so close to many, I am excited to be working with others to encourage a whole-school buy in from Key Stage 3 students to parents. This makes me feel even more connected with the wider school community as I observe sustainability becoming more integrated in our every day lives.”
In the classroom, we have several students who benefit from peer learning and from other students who bring their independent learning into the classroom. We have students who challenge and debate and move thinking forward for the whole class. We have curious and brave learners who continue to make an impact every day. We have students who give up their time to volunteer with our Students Support Programme (SSP); making a big impact on the learning of others, such as Fred and Raisa. Reflecting on her experiences Raisa says “the SSP was a great experience; being able to instil a love for the subject in younger students whilst helping them develop their analytical and critical thinking skills was very rewarding” whilst Fred says of being an assistant teacher “I really enjoyed being able to get younger students excited and enthusiastic about Computer Science. It was especially meaningful for me to give back as I benefitted from student support myself and I really enjoy making connections with others.”
At Alice Smith, we try to ensure students have the language to be able to express the impact they have in whichever area they are most connected to, whether that is inside the classroom or outside the classroom. Through careers lessons in Year 12, they gain the understanding that their impact will not only benefit their university applications but also their job applications in the future. Through reflecting on the impact they make now, students are empowered and grow in confidence that they can truly make a difference in the world around them. They are the future change-makers and at Alice Smith, we strive to make sure students know the full power of their impact today and tomorrow.