Recent leaver, Izzy, talks about her time at Christ’s Hospital.
I first heard about Christ’s Hospital when the goddaughter of a family friend applied. They loved the uniform and encouraged my mum to have a look online, as I was a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. Mum brought me along to an Open Day when I was seven and after five minutes I knew I wanted to come here. One day at primary school, we were watching a programme about a ‘real-life Hogwarts’ and it was CH. I shouted, ‘that’s my school!’ as I was so sure it would happen!
I have loved art and drama. Drama has a special place in my heart as it has given me confidence and communication skills I can employ in all aspects of life. Being involved in big productions like West Side Story and Bugsy Malone has been incredible. I’m amazed how these shows come together. A week before opening night, the cast are forgetting lines and the dance numbers are nowhere near ready, yet somehow, we always pull it off.
West Side Story and Chicago have been my favourites. However, I fell down the stairs a few days before the opening night of Chicago and fractured my ankle. As it was my last show, I was determined to carry on, so there was someone backstage with a chair and an ice pack so I could sit down after every number!
I have utilised my stage skills when speaking in public, most notably when I gave a talk at a Head Teacher’s assembly. The Head usually invites guest speakers to talk to pupils on a range of subjects, from charity expeditions to anti-bullying campaigns. However, the assemblies also provide pupils with an opportunity to talk about issues important to them and, for me, that’s homelessness. I first gave the talk to my own year group, but it went well enough for Mr. Reid to ask me to present it to everyone.
In 2019, my dad found himself homeless, through no fault of his own. We tragically lost my brother a few years prior to that and dad took it badly and ended up homeless. It was only during COVID that he was one of many homeless people taken off the streets and put in a hotel, to help prevent the virus spreading. He received support which allowed him to get back on track and two years later, he has a job, a home, and has escaped the cycle of homelessness.
I was at CH while everything was going downhill for my dad and I felt hopeless. I didn’t want to speak to friends, so spoke to staff about it instead and they gave me some fantastic support. By the time of my Deps year (Year 12), my dad had turned a corner and I felt I could talk to close friends, although even then I didn’t always know how to broach the subject. The Head Teacher’s assembly gave me that platform.
It turned something that had a negative power over me into something positive and empowering. I told the story of a homeless man, describing his circumstances without saying who he was. Only at the end did I reveal that it was my own dad, which had a powerful impact in terms of changing perspectives.
I hope I inspired others to have the courage to share their own story. CH has an amazing energy because of the different backgrounds of the pupils. It is what makes the School special. After the talk, I realised many could relate to my story, with some having gone through a similar experience and others transgressing their own obstacles. At CH, you’re surrounded by people who will not look down on you and I feel that talking about issues honestly allows something positive to grow within us.