Three years ago, as a trial, I organised an Aim High trip to take a group of 12 GCSE students at my school to visit a Cambridge College. Having just graduated from my old College, Clare, in May after completing my MEd, I contacted the School Liaison Officer and set about planning for a day-visit in July before the end of the school academic year. Through a personal contact, we were also invited to visit Robinson College.
Three years later this afternoon, one of the students from that group came back to school after leaving the Sixth Form to say “thank you” to a few of her teachers. I bumped into her at the school car park and she greeted me with a bright sunny smile. We could have hugged. Amongst other comments about her excitement of moving into her College next week, she said, “I can’t believe I am actually going to study at Cambridge. The last time I visited Cambridge was when you took us on that trip. I just wanted to say ‘thank you'”.
In fact, she is one of the two girls from that trip who actually went on to apply, received offers and achieved the grades to study at Cambridge.
I had set up the trip with the objective to inspire some of our academically most able students to try for Cambridge. In my statement, I explained my belief in “catch them young”. Three years later, the fruition of that ideal was incapsulated most touchingly by her broad smile and excitement about her new venture.
Well done and have a great time at Cambridge!
PS. Since that initial trip, I have taken two other groups to Cambridge. Instead of Clare College, Gonville and Caius has been hosting our visits in 2015 and 2015. We are deeply indebted to both Colleges. Our gratitude is also extended to Robinson College which has been so hospitable in the past three years.
Another trip in July 2017 has been planned.