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We had the pleasure of interviewing a parent of one of the scholars on the Bright Ambitions Programme. Nicolina tells us more about her experience, why she wanted her son to join the programme, and the impact that the programme had on her son’s life.
How did you find out about GT Scholars?
I found out about GT Scholars when I received a message in one of my Whatsapp groups. The message was an advert about one of the career workshops days. This caught my attention and sounded like a good idea, so I opened the link, and I must say that I had to really persevere with getting a ticket for the event, but it was well worth it!
Have you seen any improvement and growth in your son since he joined the programme?
There has been a huge change in my son! Although Xavier has always been quite academic, he never really showed much interest in developing softer skills, presentation and teamwork skills etc. Xavier was also very reluctant to take part in anything much extracurricular. All of this changed after a couple of terms of mentoring with a lovely young lady who works in the City and now with an older gentleman who used to work in IT. Together with the various workshops that he has attended, he is a different person. Xavier can’t wait to do extracurricular activities and has indeed been successful in his application for the GT Scholars Youth Board. He’s incredibly focused on attaining experiences for his CV. From an academic perspective, he’s now even more diligent with his studies and thinks long term. Xavier is now decidedly focusing on universities to attend.
What impact has the tutoring session had on your son?
Xavier’s confidence has increased in mathematics. We had a few hiccups to be fair in respect of his self-motivation. After a few discussions about why he was undertaking the tutoring, he is now much more self-driven and totally self-motivated in respect of his learning and wider academic achievements. He had never undertaken any form of online tuition before GT Scholars, and it took a bit of persuading! However, after two terms with his tutor, he then went on to request additional tuition to take him forward over the summer holidays! He is now much more confident in online classes and willing to confidently articulate his opinions in groups. I totally support and respect his newfound attitude to his studies.
What impact has the mentoring sessions had on your son?
He’s a different person now and really embraced the fact that he needs experience and skills to be able to compete in an ever-competitive world. Achieving success in his academic studies is a given for him, but with the help of his mentors, he has learnt “how he learns” and how to structure his studies for long term success. He’s seriously thinking about getting a part-time job at 16 (or starting his own small business), and he’s really taken ownership of his life path. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he needs a nudge to get something done, but he’s so much more mature minded in respect of his academic pathway through his GCSEs and into university together with his personal growth plan. He recognises and understands that he’s at an important junction of his life and the choices he makes now has the power to open doors and opportunities in life. He’s much more willing to try new things, and I was so proud of him when he decided to apply for the GT Scholars Youth Board. He survived a 3.5-hour group interview and was successful! He’d never even have applied a few years ago.
Was there a specific part of our programme that drew you to GT Scholars or the programme as a whole?
I am proud of my 15-year-old BME son who can say he’s been to the city and learnt about that world. He can say that he undertook public speaking and led workshops for adults and that he’s done programming at the Google HeadQuarters. He can also say that he participated in a Dragons Den exercise and that he’s now got an idea about his life path for the next 5 years and how he can get to a top university. Wow, I’m really proud and impressed with my son, and I was no way near that put together at his age…
As a parent, how did you find interacting with the tutors and mentors?
The tutors and mentors I have come across have been 110% dedicated to helping my son to be the best that he can be. I’m blown away by the amount that they can cover in one session and simply feel blessed to have had these caring, kind and dedicated people help me to raise my son. They are very special people. I can see that they are well supported by GT Scholars, well trained and are well selected to be mentors.
What has your experience been with the organisation as a whole?
My experience with GT Scholars has been fantastic. I think GT Scholars is one of the world’s best-kept secrets… Temi and her team are totally dedicated to the cause of nurturing our young people in terms of academic and personal growth. It is rare to find this in our society today. I’d like to give a big shout out to Marilyn in particular who looks after the programmes so well, and she’s lovely…
Would you recommend GT Scholars to other parents out there looking for a tutoring and mentoring programme?
I would definitely recommend GT Scholars!
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Yes! Your teenage child will likely need some persuading to get started on any programme… Keep persuading and encouraging them because the rewards are worth it. Even though we do not qualify for the subsidised fees, the GT Scholars programmes have been worth every single penny and brilliant. Just do it!