Whitgift School alumnus shares how The Whitgift Foundation bursary scheme supported him.

Yvan Bollet-Quivogne attended Whitgift School on a full Whitgift Foundation bursary. The bilingual student graduated Sixth Form in 2015 receiving an impressive 43 points out of 45 in his IB (International Baccalaureate) exams and secured his university place at Cambridge for 2017. Yvan revisits his time at the Croydon school where he was Captain of the Rugby U15s helping the team reach the quarter-finals in the Daily Mail Cup.

Whitgift School, a cut above the rest

Living in Forest Hill, Yvan knew almost nothing about Whitgift School. However, upon visiting, he was instantly drawn to the school’s friendly atmosphere. “The boys taking you around made you feel like part of the school.” The school is renowned for its sporting excellence and exceptional parkland site, home to the school’s wildlife animals such as peacocks, wallaby and cranes.

The perfect choice

Traditionally known for its educational excellence, Whitgift also has a strong community environment. Charitable work and fundraising is an integral part of a pupil’s education and development at the school. “It really does set it apart,” Yvan explains. “Not only from other schools in the area, but also where I live. The community environment was not something I experienced while I was looking at other schools, or certainly not to the same level as Whitgift.”

The Whitgift Foundation Bursary opens doors

The Whitgift Foundation understands the importance of accessing a good education, and helps students by providing a bursary scheme to support them financially. “I wouldn’t be here if it were not for the Whitgift Foundation bursary,” Yvan admits. “I don’t think I would have had the confidence to try different things such as drama and it certainly opened up doors in terms of university choices. It gave me the self-belief and opportunity to aim high.”

Advice about applying for a bursary

Having been through the application process, Yvan believes there is nothing to worry about, “It just gives you more opportunity to attend, so go for it.” 

Where background isn’t a barrier

Going to a private school and not coming from a well-off background was Yvan’s main worry about fitting in at school. “However, you don’t get that here at Whitgift School. Everyone was very welcoming and you were never made to feel that your background mattered.” As soon as a student starts at Whitgift School, they become a Whitgift Boy and are encouraged to do their best and become whatever they want. “Within a week of starting, my worries were gone,” says Yvan.

Words of wisdom to new students

Starting at a new school can have its challenges, it is an imperative point in time where growing and developing as a person takes place. “Get involved as much as you can,” is Yvan’s advice. “I didn’t do it enough early on,” he explains. “I tried a few different things though and really enjoyed them. I took up drama for the first time in year 9 and continued to perform in school productions into my final year and even got involved as a member of staff last year.” Whitgift School has plenty to choose from with lots of opportunities to try new things. “It is a great way to discover yourself,” Yvan adds.

Whitgift School helps students achieve educational excellence

Yvan believes the teaching and learning environment is invaluable. “I don’t question for a minute that I would have done as well had I not gone to Whitgift School. You’re in an environment where everyone wants to learn and I have done better as a result of it.”

Yvan has a place at Cambridge University lined up to start in October 2017 where he will be studying Physical Natural Sciences. For the immediate future, Yvan will be volunteering in Bangladesh as part of the International Citizens Services (ICS).

Whitgift School’s charm

As well as its extraordinary wildlife and first class facilities, there is another certain charm about the school: “There’s an original WW2 bunker that resides in the water gardens on the school grounds,” Yvan explains. You can read the piece written about it in the Whitgiftian magazine.

Yvan’s reflection on Whitgift School

Yvan truly believes studying at Whitgift School changed his life. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have attended Whitgift School. I have made great friends with the staff as well as the students and it’s a place that doesn’t stop caring for you.” After graduating from the school, Yvan returned to work in the admissions team and on projects such as the Whitgiftian magazine. During that time, staff members helped with his application to university. “It’s a place that continues to keep you involved and helps you at whatever stage you are at, so it is nice to give back and encourage others to study at Whitgift School and experience the opportunities that are available.”

Whitgift School in 3 words

Friendly, wonderful and inspirational. 

To apply for a Whitgift Foundation Bursary, visit our Bursaries page

Visit our schools. View open day dates here.

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