Noah Chang, Wilberforce, Class of 2017 gained 42 points at IB. His achievement was acknowledged at the ESF Chairman’s Awards. He is currently studying architecture at Bath University, before starting he did an internship at Thomas Chow Architects. He talks about how Island School changed him.
I joined Island School in Year 9, before coming to Island School I was at local school. It didn’t really suit me and my style of learning. I felt like I had to memorize a lot of information and churn it out to get a good exam result. I didn’t think that was the way I wanted to learn.
Mrs. Sommerville was really important to me, she was the Senior Head of House since I joined. I think people’s first impressions of her, especially those in the lower years, think she is a bit scary. But then as you get into the higher years and you get to know her better you realise why she has been hard on us. It is a bit clichéd, but it was for our own good! She gives you a lot of responsibility. In Year 12 I was a House prefect, on top of all the school stuff I had to do I had a lot of House stuff to do. I took on responsibility for communications around the House charity fast so I had to prepare presentations, posters and emails. That role really helped me quite a lot because I took responsibility and I got to see the results of my work. She pushed me to do things I wouldn’t normally volunteer for.
I had so many opportunities to do different things. Like AYP (Award for Young People) which includes hiking and services (plus some other aspects). Before I did AYP I wasn’t really into hiking or outdoor activities or nature. But then hiking, navigation and learning to cope with your environment changed me a lot. It is like an extended metaphor, each hill you go over is like an obstacle. I know I can overcome obstacles and at the end there will be a good sense of satisfaction.
Every new experience you take on, you make friendships and they last much longer than the activities themself. I have made some of my best friends in my five years at Island School. There is a real lasting bond. A lot of them are going to universities in the UK and we are going to have our own meet-ups.
I exceeded my own expectations. I never thought I would get 42 points! In Year 11 I coasted along, I didn’t really have to try that hard. But in Year 12, it is not as easy, you really have to manage your time well. In the beginning of Year 12 my teachers really help me a lot. I felt a bit lost at the beginning. In Art lessons I didn’t really have a sense of direction but Mrs. Eustace pushed me out of my comfort zone and I got into the rhythm of things and gradually I improved by myself.
Teachers give you the starting point but after that you have to do it by yourself.
I would say to a new student – enjoy school as much as possible. There is so much you can do. Island School really expanded my horizons and there is so much more to school than sitting in classes and learning. Try as many new things as you want.
I think trying new things and expanding horizons can still happen after decant. It is about the people and the people are still here. Decant will make a bit of difference at first. If people have got use to the building them there will be some changes because of the different layout and being on two sites. For the most part I think it will still be Island School.
I think most students have got their priorities straight they want to know they will be in the same House, do their favorite lessons and see their friends.