Former Sibford pupil, Isabel Chapman, was guest speaker at the school’s Evening of Celebration.
The annual event, which celebrates the achievements of GCSE and A Level students, sees prizes presented for academic achievement, endeavour and commitment.
Isabel, who joined Sibford Sixth Form in 2005, revealed that she left her previous school when she was told that she couldn’t study English Literature at A Level because of her dyslexia. She graduated from Sibford two years later with an A in English Literature, a B in Media and a C in Drama and went on to study at Leeds University where she specialised in working with young offenders.
Now 27, Isabel has accumulated a wealth of experience in working with young people at risk of social exclusion and facing multiple disadvantages. She is Development Officer for Art Against Knives, a London-based charity working with young people at risk of violent crime; has addressed the Houses of Parliament; and given a TEDx* talk about young people and domestic abuse.
She told Sibford’s current students and recent leavers: “Follow your own path. As hard as it is, do not compare yourselves to others. Only you know what is truly right for you. Own your skills, you have more than you realise. Develop them, expand them and be confident in your abilities. Don’t be scared to celebrate your own success.”
In addition to subject awards, the 2016 Evening of Celebration saw trophies presented for ‘outstanding service to the community’ and ‘perseverance and determination in the face of adversity’. There was also a brand new award in memory of Sibford pupil Angus Oakey who died earlier in the year aged 18 from Leukaemia. The award, in recognition of the importance of friendship amongst students, was presented by Angus’ mother, Jan, and his grandmother, Val.
*TEDx is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.
Isabel is pictured with her former English teacher, Tracy Knowles. Tracy still teaches English at Sibford and is also Assistant Head (Pastoral).