TO say that Yinni Hu achieved a lot during her two years at King’s Ely Sixth Form would be an understatement.
The icing on the cake came on A Level results day when 19-year-old Yinni discovered she had achieved the grades needed to secure her place at Oxford University.
Yinni, who is from Oslo, Norway, joined King’s Ely as a boarder in Year 12 and is now reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Somerville College after achieving three A*s and an A.
Yinni, who was a House Prefect, School Prefect, Deputy Head of School and Queen’s Scholar at King’s Ely, says that leaving Norway to study in the UK was “more than a little terrifying” but that it was “one of the best choices she ever made”.
The Hill House boarder said: “Getting into Oxford would be but a dream if it wasn’t for the support King’s Ely has given me in all aspects of school life.
“The school started preparing us all for the university application process in Year 12, with the aid of higher education conferences, extended learning sessions and personal statement workshops.
“A special thank you must be given to Ms Smith, whose expertise and wholehearted support has been invaluable to me throughout the process.
“All of my subject teachers were ready to go out of their way to offer extra help when needed, whether it was to read through my personal statement or to step into the role as a strict, pokerfaced examiner for a mock interview.
“They were also patient and understanding when the time spent on preparing for entrance tests and interviews compromised the time used on my A Levels.
“Learning support deserves its own mention as well. After discovering in the eleventh hour that I showed signs of Dyspraxia, they got me tested by an education psychologist immediately and proceeded to try their best to provide me with whatever help and support possible so late in the game.
“I also cannot say enough about the support that Hill House has offered me during this (at times very stressful) period. Without their care around the clock every single day, this journey could have turned out very differently.
“When I joined King’s it was my first time studying abroad and more than a little terrifying but it was one of the best choices in my life.”
It is not just Yinni’s academic successes that have been both recognised and enhanced during her time at King’s Ely.
Yinni commented: “I have been playing the piano since the age of five and my time at King’s has been two extremely rewarding years for me musically. I’ve had an amazing Music teacher, Mrs Williams-Wandoch, and the Music Department headed by Mr Kingston has given me many valuable chances to perform on various occasions.
“Two highlights would be performing in Ely Cathedral as part of the US Air Force Thanksgiving Service in November 2015 and performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major in the West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, with the school in March 2017. In 2016, I also won the school’s Musician of the Year Award.
“For sport, I’ve been swimming throughout my time at King’s and it was an honour to participate in the school team’s first ever swimming gala.
“I also had the great pleasure of being part of Hill House’s three-man senior debating team in Year 13. The inter-house debating competition helped me develop invaluable teamwork, argumentation and communication skills. Debating in front of the whole school (albeit dressed up as Scrooge) in the finals was an unforgettable experience (I’m totally not still bitter about us coming second).
Yinni added: “From the day I was interviewed by the Principal, Mrs Freestone, King’s Ely has offered me continuous encouragement and support. The school recognises every effort and success, and that recognition has provided me with motivation and confidence.
“Being a School and House Prefect has taught me responsibility, maturity and the importance of being a good role model. My boarding house and the amazing people there have taught me the value of strength and independence. The house system gives each student a sense of belonging and in my case a home away from home in the most literal sense.
“Most importantly, the school has always encouraged me to be the best I can be and to be proud of that person. We are allowed to strive for the goals we set ourselves and the school provides guidance and support rather than making any choices for us.
“King’s focuses on much more than a student’s academic progress. The school has urged and encouraged my overall growth and development as a person. Outside of the classroom, the school has taught me lessons that have equipped me with essential skills for the future, regardless of what that future might bring.”