Horatio Georgestone was one of the first intake of Kingsford Scholars at the college graduating in 2009. As a pupil, he quickly made his mark on the school community and quickly made many friends. But how has he spent his gap year and has he kept up the pace for which he became known?
My year has been amazing. I have had six jobs and travelled to India for ten weeks. First I worked as a coach for Debate Mate, coaching three secondary schools and one primary school - Kingsford Community School, Lilian Baylis Technology School, Royal Docks Community School and Ravenscroft Primary school. Kingsford went on to win the regional round of the Richard Koch Cup in London, the Debate Mate championships, and they were in the final in the House of Lords in June. I’ve also worked as an assistant teacher and mentor at Kingsford Community School. I helped students who were applying Brighton, helped co-ordinate the school council, and I was strongly involved with preparing GCSE drama students for their final GCSE plays. I mentored students to stretch themselves academically and I gave assemblies to try to inspire students to achieve more.
I volunteered with Save the Children, attending weekly meetings to make suggestions for tackling child poverty in Newham, the borough in which I live. The charity aims to reduce child poverty by 2020. I was involved in the creation of Munch the Crunch, a project developing a recipe book for with local people, for local people. It offers low cost, quick to make recipes that can feed large families.
I’ve also done some work on a project called the Restorative Justice Programme with Racial Equality In Newham. This project aimed to create round table meetings between offenders, many of whom have shot or stabbed someone, and the victims’ families. It gives offenders the opportunity to recognise what they have done and the family the chance to ask questions of the offender.
I’m very interested in politics and this year I gained experience locally and at Westminster. I regularly attended open forums run by the mayor of Newham, Robin Wales and I have also been in close contact with his former deputy, Councillor Bowden. My local MP Stephen Timms, who was a Minister up until the general election, has been very supportive. He has given me many opportunities to go to Parliament and watch debates from the reserved area of the viewing gallery and I noted my observations and opinions in a Political Journal!
I also gained an insight into the life of a barrister. Phillip Noble, a senior barrister at Thomas More Chambers, saw me at an advanced stage of the English Speaking Union Mace Debating Championships whilst I was at college and we have kept in close contact ever since. His support has been incredible, enabling me to work with several barristers on week long cases as well as seeing how barristers’ chambers operate.
My trip to India was amazing. It wasn’t an idle visit where I just took loads of pictures, bought souvenirs and had lots of fun. I was a platform 2 volunteer. I had to learn Hindi, teach and get involved in construction! Our camp in Darbari, Rajasthan was in the middle of the desert. I had to adjust to the heat (around 50 celcius), a diet with no meat or cow products, and work with a group of strangers. Teaching at Dabla school required lots of energy, lots of planning and the ability to deal with a class of 30+ rowdy 10 year olds who did not always easily understand what I was teaching. We were helping to create sewerage systems, digging deep, long trenches in the heat, as well as fitting white washing rooms in the school and then painting educational words and pictures, playing sports with the children and planting trees.
I hope to complete my Duke of Endinburgh Gold by participating in my final expedition, and I am predicted an A in A-level philosophy. I look forward to going to Exeter.