Over 20 former Northampton Academy students reunited last week for an alumni afternoon, where they joined current Sixth Formers and staff to share and celebrate their experiences.
The event was aimed at preparing current Year 12 students at the Academy for life beyond Sixth Form, as well as to demonstrate the many varied, exciting paths previous students have taken.
Some of the newer alumni, who are still at university, spoke to the group about their experiences in Higher Education. They gave valuable advice on a range of topics, from managing money and accommodation issues to making friends and dealing with course-load.
Other alumni who have already completed university and gone on to employment discussed the challenges and successes they have faced and shared their advice for navigating the world of work.
In addition, two main guest speakers attended.
Denis Plesca, now a successful freelance film-maker gave an inspirational speech about how he started off studying design but decided it wasn’t for him and went into film-making. Students were impressed by his latest film, Beyond the Knowing, which has been seen by over 300,000 people.
Denis’s main advice to students was:
“Everything you need is out there – you just have to find it.”
Sam Lyon, now a teacher at Northampton Academy himself, also addressed students. As a former student at the Academy’s predecessor school, Lings Upper, he has seen first-hand the improvements and greater opportunities since his time at school.
Explaining some of the challenges he had faced in studying, going onto university and deciding to make teaching his profession, Sam is now keen to encourage students to be and to do their best. He said:
“Hard work really makes a difference. Don’t settle for the minimum grades, work hard and you will see it pay off. Do something you love, put the time in and don’t settle for second best. With hard work, ambition and determination you will succeed, just like I did.”
Year 12 student Hina Hoti said: “I really enjoyed seeing our ex-students and hearing about their many career choices. I recognised many of them from when I was in lower years. It was true that they were in our shoes a few years ago and made me realise that it’s ok to make mistakes, so long as you learn from them. “
Mr. Parnell said of the event:
“We were very proud to be able to welcome back so many successful, inspiring former students to the Academy and I would like to thank all our alumni who attended. For our Sixth Formers who are facing decisions about their next steps in education, training and employment, hearing from those who have been in a similar position has been invaluable. It has given students a real sense of the doors open to them and that with continued hard work and perseverance they can achieve real success in the future.”