Repton School, Derbyshire, takes much pleasure in following up on its students’ successes as former pupils excel in higher education and exciting careers around the world. The school shares these successes widely, both on its website and social media platforms. This way, Repton encourages a culture where students celebrate each other’s achievements, even when they’ve left school for the next stages of their careers.
In recent Repton news, Trinity College – a prestigious college within the University of Cambridge – has named Old Reptonian Serena Cole its first female, Black students’ union president. Staff and students at both Repton and Trinity College are celebrating this major milestone.
Last year, Trinity College appointed Serena as the student union’s BME officer. 12 months on, Serena is delighted to take on the role of president. She looks forward to balancing this responsibility with a demanding second year of medical studies.
Serena’s achievement hasn’t come as a surprise to Repton teachers, who praised her raw talent, academic ability, and work ethic throughout her time at Repton. In particular, Serena’s tutor Stuart Ingleston-Orme (Head of Science) described her as ‘simply outstanding’ and noted her potential to pursue any path at higher education and beyond.
‘This is further recognition of what a phenomenal young woman Serena is,’ Mr Ingleston-Orme says. ‘During her time at Repton, she not only demonstrated an outstanding understanding of STEM subjects but was also grounded, considered, and personable. Serena is a naturally inquisitive and very capable scientist who considers the interdependent relationships between her academic subjects in much the way that science is undertaken in the real world.’
‘To see this breadth and depth of wider understanding at this age is very rare indeed and, consequently, Serena was awarded a Foundation Scholarship (Repton’s highest academic accolade). She was driven to be at the forefront of scientific research and endeavour, and I have no doubt that her story will continue to be an exceptional one in the field of medicine.’
Repton’s Headmaster Mark Semmence is also impressed with Serena’s success.
‘We are enormously proud of Serena’s achievements, from being appointed BME officer in her first year and now to break new ground as the president of Trinity College SU in her second year – on top of the demands of her medical studies,’ Mr Semmence says. ‘She embodies the principle that a person’s race, gender, or age should never be a barrier to achievement. I would encourage Serena to enjoy every moment of this extraordinary achievement, but it is most unlike her to glory in the moment. I have no doubt that Serena will leave an astonishing legacy at Trinity College, much as she has done here at Repton.’
‘Serena truly embodies the Repton spirit that participation in whatever arena fosters wellbeing,’ he adds. ‘During her time here, apart from her academic achievements, Serena was awarded the Arkwright Scholarship for Engineering, achieved her grade seven in piano and baritone horn, her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, was a Flight Sergeant in RAF cadets, and played in goal for our senior hockey team.’
Reflecting on her successes throughout her educational career to date, Serena highlights the importance of finding time to do the things you are passionate about.
‘The more extra curriculars I take on, the more time I find that I have in the day. This is counter-intuitive, but I find that it works for things that I enjoy or care about. It also applies to relaxation and spending time with friends and family, which is incredibly important for maintaining my mental health and self-care.’
‘The key to my previous role as BME officer and now TCSU president is my drive and motivation,’ she adds. ‘I am passionate about the changes I want to make, and, without this passion, I think that the pandemic would have halted any progress. Instead, I have been able to do more than I could have imagined since the pandemic, including organising Trinity’s first Black History Month and piloting the TrackToTrin access scheme for year-twelve Black students.’
The TrackToTrin scheme offers mentorship opportunities for students from ethnic minorities, who form the most underrepresented group at Trinity College, amongst several prestigious academic establishments. The scheme’s mentors are on hand to help these students improve their academic attainment, university applications, and interview skills.
Repton School and Repton Prep form a co-educational, independent through school for children aged 3–18. A Repton education doesn’t prioritise one area of learning over another. Students never have to choose their love for academia over their love for theatre, sport, or music. Instead, Repton staff encourage students to hone all areas of their varied curriculums.
The school is small enough that staff can nurture each student as an individual, yet large enough that students can compete on an international level, whether that be in music, arts, sport, or academia.
Learn more about Repton School