Our students play an active part in the 600 Campaign, and their willingness to speak up and share their stories is testament to their belief in the campaign and their love for the school.
“My name is Lauren Kay, I am a currently a pupil of the Royal Latin’s sixth form and will be sitting A-levels in Biology, Philosophy and Ethics and History this June. I have been a pupil of the school since I was 11 years old, and although I did not take a huge interest in sport in the first year of joining, the sports department helped me to realise my potential and have a huge part to play in my love for sport today. I have recently represented the Great British Junior rowing team at the European Championships and the support I have received from the school has been outstanding. I would not be in the position I am in today without them.
I was very unwell throughout the second year at the school, as a rare throat infection led to my antibodies attacking the frontal lobes in my brain and l spent nine months in and out of the John Radcliffe Hospital with brain damage. My parents were told that I would have to be taken care of for the rest of my life and would never be capable of looking after myself. The support from the sport staff started here- Mrs Gahagan ran a sponsored run in aid of the ward that took care of me and it was then I promised myself I would one day do something amazing in sport, no matter what the doctors told me I couldn’t do.
As a result of the illness I have been left with a tic disorder which could last the rest of my life. I defied the expectations of doctors by returning to full time education within a year with the help of the learning support staff and earning 12 GCSE’s with my lowest grade at a B. Part of my rehabilitation was exercising, and it was then I found my love for competing. I represented the school in athletics at the district championships and still hold school records in the discus and relay, winning the junior victrix ludorum on sports day one year. I also captained the school netball team, played for the hockey team and took up P.E for my GCSE’s. Sport became an outlet for me, and the encouragement of the staff and the amazing fun I had both in games lessons with my friends and competing for the school led me to seek out what else sport could offer me, and I began rowing.
Throughout the last two years the Latin have helped me fit my education around a very demanding training schedule, also making sure I was up to date on my schoolwork, and that I was healthy and happy. They took a huge interest in what I was doing, even rewarding me with the school’s first ‘rowing’ colour when I won the National Championships. When I represented Great Britain for the first time I was rewarded with ‘international’ colours which a number of high achieving students have been given when they have been selected by and competed for their country. It has always struck me that the athletes competing for sports outside the school get just as much recognition and support as those who compete for the school, and all levels of sporting participation are recognised. This means that sport is not just reserved for the ‘elite’ which is incredibly important.
Last summer I earned a British vest, having been selected to represent the country in the 4- and 8+ at the Coupe de la Jeunesse (European Championships) and came back with a gold, silver and bronze medal. I owe a huge amount of my success to the support of my school and hope that they can continue to do this for students in the future. New sporting facilities would make this so much easier, and would encourage so many more students to take this opportunity to be fit, healthy and possibly find a sport that they love enough to be competitive in. I feel as though I owe a lot to the school sports department and hope that you can help me give back to them, and to give this amazing opportunity to future students of the Royal Latin School.”
“I’ve undoubtedly experienced the reward hard work can bring. But I’ve also received multiple injuries: a collar bone break, broken fingers and ligament ruptures in my ankle.
With the support of the PE department, I reduced the time in which I recovered…only after experiences like these do you appreciate the importance of sport in school and the friendly environment surrounding young people. The teachers have played a massive role in my development. With increased funding and facilities, I know this will continue for other pupils in the future”.
Will Simonds, RLS Year 11 2016, Wasps & England U16 Rugby Player
Wise words from Lauren and Will. Their achievements, resilience and willingness to inspire others – including encouraging their peers to get stuck in – demonstrates the huge impact that sporting success can have not only on the individual, but on the culture of the whole school. The Sports Campus will enable us to better support more students to pursue their sporting dreams alongside their academic studies, as well as to inspire every single student to have a go, and be more active.