24 January 2017

BBC Reporters interview HarrietSenior prefect, Harriet Olurankinse, returns to the school where she got the top Geography GCSE mark from over 50,000 students in the UK – St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School. We know that the geography GCSE exam has a reputation of being quite hard! So, how did a pupil from our little school in the suburbs of Wigan, beat pupils from the many fee-paying schools across the UK? 

We think that one of the secrets to Harriet’s success is her modest and friendly personality. Firstly, she put us at ease with her smiles and bubbly personality straight away. While Harriet was talking to us, we picked up a few tips on how to excel in our own GCSE’s in the not-too-distant future.

Tip 1: “By making revision cards, it helped me to focus on what I had to do. For the different exams, I colour-coded them. I used maps and images. This helped me a lot.”

Tip 2: “Start revising as early as possible. I liked doing revision cards because of the visual side of it, but my friend did spider diagrams and wrote on wallpaper to tape up on her bedroom wall. If it works for you, then just do it.”

Tip 3: “On the Notes app. on my phone, I would write the exams I had that day, for example, R.E. - Exam 1. Initially, I would do three red hearts and when I felt slightly more confident, I would change it to amber. Finally, I would then change the hearts to green when I felt very confident and also change the title to bold. I found this is the ideal way to revise for me.”

Pupils write down tipsHarriet is a very determined and positive student. Her determination is inspiring, as she told us that she never gives up on anything that she does, such as reaching for any goal in her life. In the future, Harriet hopes to follow  a career in medicine and we think that this job option would be perfect for her as she has the ability to relax anyone as soon as you meet her.

Harriet also told us that her inspiration and motivation to succeed was the head girl from the previous year. This girl achieved mostly A* and Harriet motivated herself to do as well as she did. Even though some of her friends were going to the cinema or shopping, Harriet carried on revising to get the best possible results; this is truly an inspiration to us all. When we asked Harriet about all the preparation she did she replied, “It was very stressful, but a balance of how much time you spend on revision, actually helps to make it easier.” To us, this much dedication is unbelievable and, as you can see, it definitely paid off!

In December 2016, Harriet received a phone call telling her that she had achieved the best geography GCSE result in the country. In her own words, she said, “Unbelievable, I was shocked and proud of my achievement; however it took a while to sink in!” Harriet received a certificate and a cheque from the Geographical Society in recognition of her dedication and commitment. 

After speaking to Harriet, we have picked up tips to help us achieve goals and overcome challenges just as she did. Harriet has not only inspired us to do the best we possibly can in school, but has also inspired us to be like her.  Her personality and dedication to school life has motivated us also to be ‘the best that we can be’ – something that Headteacher Mr Dumican often says in his speeches!  She is now studying at Winstanley College, taking A-Level Maths, Biology and Chemistry, making her one-step closer towards her career in medicine – something we know that she definitely will excel in!

BBC Interview HarrietHead of Geography, Mr Kennedy is obviously delighted for Harriet and had this to say: 'We are all so proud of Harriet and her remarkable achievement. Harriet represents everything that makes SEA such a special community. Her work ethic, enthusiasm for learning and altruism are an inspiration to pupils and staff alike. As Head of Geography, I am delighted that Harriet has received this award. She is a positive role model to other pupils and will inspire them to believe in themselves and their abilities. I am confident that there are many other pupils at SEA who can 'be the best' in the variety of subject areas and extra-curricular activities provided by the school.'

By Niamh and Aimee, Year 8