A York schoolgirl has received the prestigious William Akroyd Scholarship, which is open to students from Yorkshire schools.
Holly Gardiner, 18, at The Mount School was the only candidate from a field of 53 applicants to be awarded the scholarship for three years she will be at University. Holly has an offer from Hertford College, Oxford, to study politics, philosophy and economics (PPE).
The participating candidates came from twenty-two different schools across Yorkshire, each gave an essay answer to a chosen question, and the shortlist of six candidates attended an interview in York on Friday 7 March.
Holly’s essay, on whether the issue of trying to resolve the civil war in Syria has taken second place to the process of eliminating chemical weapons from there, was described as “extremely well answered” and earned her a place on the shortlist.
After the interviews, the William Akroyd’s Foundation confirmed with Julie Lodrick, Principal of The Mount,
that The Examiner reported that all the candidates were of an impressively high standard, that the award was offered to Holly and that she was the only candidate to be offered the award this year.
Julie Lodrick, Principal of The Mount, said:
It is a credit to Holly that she should be the only recipient of this scholarship in a year when the field of is of such a high standard. We are all immensely proud of Holly’s achievement and I know this scholarship will be of use during her years at Oxford. The Mount is provides a first class education by developing individual strengths and celebrating achievements.
Holly, who is also Headgirl at The Mount, said:
I feel very honoured to be awarded this scholarship, which makes me feel even more excited about University. The School values our academic interests, and recognises our achievements. I think this helps you feel supported and inspired, and builds your confidence to take up opportunities like the William Akroyd Scholarship.
This year, The Mount’s own Lydia Rous Scholarship – awarded to “the girl who has contributed the most, academically and practically, to the school in every way during her time at The Mount” – is Sixth Form student Alice Grierson. The award is named for the School’s superintendent from 1866-1879 who was an inspirational teacher.
After having been at the School for thirteen years, I have tried to commit myself to doing as many things as possible for the School and give back because I feel the School has given a lot to me. What makes me proudest is that the Lydia Rous is a School tradition, and the award links service to the School as well as academics. Growing up here I noticed the other girls who have been recognised for the Award and I feel humble to be included among them.
I think The Mount provides a lot of opportunities for the students, and it’s important for people to grasp as many of these as possible while they are here. Because it is a small school, The Mount has a focus on external opportunities for students. I have found this is much more useful, and not just because it’s a chance to meet new people. Doing such things – whether it’s public speaking or educational lectures, or Model United Nations, whatever – when you are in front of new people you tend to care more about your reputation and the reputation of your school, and put in more of an effort to do well. Plus, achieving in external competitions or exercises that are open to other schools just feels more impressive.
While in the lower Sixth Form, both Alice and Holly had represented The Mount in the Rotary Youth Speaks public speaking competition and the Debating Matters competition, qualifying to take part in the national finals of each event.