Scholarships and Exhibitions 2016-17
As the current year’s scholarships and exhibitions are considered, we take a look at how three of last year’s Year 14 pupils benefited from the school’s generous scheme. Charlie Cloke, JJ Logue and Andrew Knape give an insight into their diverse summer experiences.
“Being awarded The Robert Dodd Travel Scholarship allowed me to travel to Canada for 15 days in July. After being skeptical about traveling across the Atlantic, I can honestly say that I had the time of my life and this was partly due to the financial help of this scholarship.
My friend and I flew via Iceland to Canada which was an experience in itself, as we were able to see a few of Iceland’s famous geysers. Landing in Canada we were greeted with pizza and root beer which soon became a staple diet of ours. We soon got a taste of the size of Canada by the giant ’18 Wheelers’ which were passing us on the freeway as we travelled from Toronto to Sarnia, where we would be based.
We went to Canada to play and coach rugby; we played for Sarnia Saints 1st XV in the Eastern Toronto League. However, this was soon to be put to the back of our minds as we were shown the party lifestyle of the locals with whom we stayed, but we weren’t complaining! It was a tradition that after training the team would go and jump into the St Clair River which acts as the border between Canada and the USA. When we weren’t playing or coaching rugby, we were playing tennis and golf, kayaking, shooting, boating and socialising…
What really struck us was the friendliness and kindness of the Canadian people, and how they invited us into their homes with open arms. Through this we have made life long friends, many of whom we played rugby with. As a team we won all three of the matches we played, helping to securing the league title and inevitable promotion. We also helped coach the U16s at the club and played for the U18s against Birkdale College from Sheffield.
A trip to Canada would obviously not be complete without visiting Niagara and the marvelous Falls. We spent the night there after playing a match in Toronto. This gave us the opportunity to visit the falls in darkness which, with the spectrum of coloured lights on display, was quite special. The next day we did other tourist attractions, including the Hornblower which brought us up close and personal with the falls; in short we got soaked!
My experience has taught me a lot. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of traveling when the opportunities arise. I went to Canada expecting to come back the same person, however even though Canada is a well developed country like ours, there are subtle differences in their way of life and many things that we can learn from; because of this, it really changed me. Traveling has taught me to respect other cultures and ways of life as well as allowing me to experience these first hand.
Thank you very much to the school for helping to fund what was an unforgettable trip.”
It was also great to hear from RBAI leaver JJ Logue who enjoyed the support of a scholarship in his efforts to become a professional golfer.
“I was delighted to receive a Memorial Sponsorship earlier this year; this helped me to play in a list of events throughout the summer, assisted in paying for entries, equipment, travel and accommodation.
My most memorable trips were playing in three events across the Irish Sea. These provided me with a valuable opportunity to meet players of a similar age and to measure how my golf game has progressed in recent years.
The season culminated in the last event, The Boys Amateur Championship hosted by Nairn & Nairn Dunbar Golf Links, Inverness. The event is professionally run by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and brought entries from all over the world where the best under 18s competed over two courses. The R&A create a course which reflects the standards expected by top professionals when they arrive for The Open; every detail down to welcome information packs, tournament information, practise facilities, brand advertising on tees, on course score recording and referees were taken care of, allowing for a taste of what professional golfers come to expect. This was a valuable experience for me as an aspiring golfing professional.
I really can’t thank the school enough for the opportunities it has given me this year, not only in achieving great A-level results, but in helping to get a step closer to my dream.”
Andrew Knape had a very different summer spent Inter Railing with some of our other Year 14 leavers. Read his compelling and original account.
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” – Mark Twain
With the help of a very generous donation from the school myself and nine RBAI pupils set off to Amsterdam on the 3rd of July 2017 to begin what would turn out to be the trip of a lifetime. Travel has always been part of who I am and despite never travelling with my family the school has provided ample opportunities for me to fuel this passion, with trips to Dubai, Edinburgh and Berlin to name but a few. Indeed, arriving at Belfast International airport at 7.00am it finally hit me that these 23 days would be the longest I had ever been away from home, yet my excitement for the weeks ahead blocked out any nerves I might otherwise have been feeling.
We travelled to Amsterdam, then Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Croatia and Dubrovnik. It was an exhilarating, tiring and action-packed trip; my time in Europe with my friends was a life-changing one. I do not say that lightly, and to paraphrase Ibn Battuta, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” I learned many lessons on this trip, the ability to budget, interact with people from all corners of the globe, I gained invaluable social skills which will serve me well in the years ahead, and most importantly, how to make a fantastic improvised salami and cheese sandwich! The trip only increased my hunger for travel and prompted me to travel alone to Barcelona later in the summer and confirmed that I want to take a gap year after university. On a more educational note, as a geographer with a burning passion for history and politics, the trip was extremely interesting to witness first-hand the interactions between these disciplines. I now begin a new chapter as I go to read geography at Durham University. The course offers an extensive chance to travel with worldwide fieldtrips to The Arctic, Jerusalem, Europe and South Africa to name but a few and my experience this summer will be invaluable in these scenarios.
I would just like to take a moment to thank the school for all their help in making this possible, the Travel Scholarship enabled me to have this experience, and without the funding it probably would not have been possible. In particular I would like to thank Mr Leathley, Mr Douglas, all the departmental staff and the Principal for their guidance, not just during the academic year to enable me to achieve a place at a top university, but throughout my entire time at RBAI; I am proud to be able to call myself an Instonian. I would encourage any boy interested in travel to apply for a scholarship, you certainly won’t regret it.
To read Andrew's full story, download it below: