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Top North school appoints new student leaders
14th May 2019

A DYNAMIC group of talented and hardworking sixth formers have been appointed to lead the student body at the North’s top-performing state school.

Head girl Emma Belward and head boy Jasper Wood, along with their impressive team of ten deputies, say they want to encourage every pupil to get the best they can out of Ripon Grammar School life.

Gifted musician Emma, 17, from Ripon, has been performing since she was four years old and has had major roles in six West End youth productions, including Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors and Romeo and Juliet.

Having gained a distinction in her Grade 8 singing exam and a Grade 6 in cello, she has appeared in numerous school productions, most recently as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, and has also represented RGS in netball, rounders and lacrosse.

Studying biology, chemistry, maths and music at A-level, she joined the school aged 13 and plans to study medicine at a northern university when she leaves RGS.

“I have really enjoyed my time here and am so grateful for all the opportunities this school has given me. This is my chance now to give something back,” she said.

Like Emma, keen environmentalist Jasper Wood says he has benefited from all RGS has to offer. The 17-year-old, from Burneston near Bedale, is working towards his Duke of Edinburgh gold award and plans to study engineering at university.

Taking A-levels in physics, chemistry, maths and product design, he impressed bosses at the luxury British sports car manufacturer Aston Martin when he won a highly coveted work placement there.

A member of the school’s eco committee and responsible for helping introduce a number of recycling schemes, he aims to work in the automative industry: “I would like to be involved in a new, more environmentally-friendly, way of thinking about transport.”

An experienced rugby player, he has represented his school in swimming and has also appeared in a number of school drama productions, starring as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: “I have got so much out of this school, so would like to give something back now and really help to make a difference,” he said.

Emma and Jasper’s ten deputies, who have also all excelled both in and outside the classroom, having immersed themselves in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, will play an important role in various aspects of school life.

Orienteering champion and accomplished musician Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla, from Myton-on-Swale, who has recently been elected as a deputy member of the UK Youth Parliament, will have a key role in RGS’s engagement with the wider community.

While boarding students Abi Cooke, from Thornton Dale, and Elliot Mountain, from Harrogate, have been appointed heads of girls’ and boys’ boarding, Patrick Stone, from Helmsley, who joined RGS in sixth form, will support new students to the school.

Keen chorister Rafaella Shiers, from Ripon, who recently won a £2,000 prize to improve school research facilities in a prestigious national competition, will work to publicise students’ achievements.

Ewan May, who lives in Dishforth, Amy Edmondson, from Bishop Monkton, and Phoebe Hall and Tom Senior, from Ripon, will help bring students together across the school’s House structure - comprising of Hutton, De Grey, Porteous and School Houses - while Evie Hoskison, from Kirkby Malzeard, will play a leading role in student welfare

With so many high-calibre candidates, head of sixth form Terry Fell explained that the rigorous selection process took about six weeks.

The students had to apply for their positions and were interviewed by staff and peers, including the headmaster, head of sixth form and an outgoing school officer. Staff and students were also surveyed for their nominations.

“We are really excited to be working with such a talented and dynamic team who clearly have a passion for the school and the drive to build on what previous school officers have achieved. They are great role models,” said Mr Fell.

Headmaster Jonathan Webb added: "School officers play a key role as ambassadors for the school, giving students a voice and taking the school forward in a range of initiatives. I would like to congratulate the 12 who were selected from a strong field, it was a very difficult choice to make."

Both Emma and Jasper say they now want to make sure everyone feels a part of the school and that there is good inter-connection between all year groups: “We want to make sure every pupil gets the best out of school and achieves as much as they possibly can,” said Emma.

Jasper concluded: “We are really pleased to have such a talented, hardworking and driven team to work with and are all looking forward to it.”

*Ripon Grammar School is Yorkshire’s only state boarding school and has been named the North’s top state school by The Sunday Times for the sixth year running. First Form Open Evening (for Sept 2020 intake) is on June 24, 5.30pm.