Story/Interview July 6, 2022
Meet Alessio, King’s InterHigh’s latest ambassador who is heading for the super-bike world championships
Many of our students are on their way to conquering the sporting world and Alessio Guarnieri is no exception. The 17-year-old Swiss student is both dedicated to his studies in business, law and Spanish, and he is enroute to becoming a super-bike champion! Here, we discuss with Alessio where his passion for biking came from, how he juggles studying with pursuing a sporting career and what his vision is for his future.
At King’s InterHigh we are lucky enough to support many talented students whose exceptional skills take them away from the classroom. Tell us about your area of excellence, Alessio?
As a kid I loved motorsports and started karting when I was nine years old. However, when I was 14, we moved to Malta where there were less opportunities to train. During the following year my dad, Francesco, noticed I was spending a lot of time watching super-biking and suggested I may want to give it a go! The excitement of bikes over karts is that they demand a greater level of skill in terms of maintaining your balance as you go around tricky bends in the road.
In September 2020, I rode my first bike and by 2021 I’d made three podiums! I knew then I had a chance to make a real impact on this sport.
Has your training had an impact on your education?
Yes, it was tough at first as I loved the social side of in-person schooling, but I knew if I was to achieve my dream, I wouldn’t be able to have traditional classroom-based education. A typical week for me usually involves us leaving home on Tuesday or Wednesday, training on Thursday and Friday, having the qualifying races on the Saturday for the Sunday race. We’d then travel home on Monday. We do this every other week, so you can see that learning in a traditional school just isn’t feasible. My travelling meant I was missing out on a lot of lessons which started to get extremely stressful for me and my parents.
How did you come across King’s InterHigh?
It was my school Principal who told me about King’s InterHigh. He’d heard it was a good school and had known students who had done very well. My parents and I realised that online schooling was the perfect way to combine my sport and school!
Today, I can study anywhere! When we’re away from home training we generally rent a campervan so I’m able to learn during my breaks and free time. It has been such a huge benefit!
How do you manage your motorsport training around your King’s InterHigh education?
This question is probably best directed at my dad.
Francesco Guarnieri: In short, I think online schooling is the best way to achieve an effective but flexible balance between his super-bike dream and education. It gives him a quality education which doesn’t disrupt his potential future career, and it gives him the time to focus on his dream of reaching, or even winning, the world championships! It has also certainly removed the stress and worry that we all had about his studies. He’s actually doing a lot better in school now and he has more time to train!
When Alessio joined King’s InterHigh my wife and I noticed a difference straight way. Alessio was very well organised and created a timetable for his classes and training.
The opportunity for Alessio to study at Kings InterHigh has impacted us as a family in such a positive way that we have now enrolled Alessio’s twin sister, Giorgia, onto the online school! She’s a talented horse rider and so this is a great way for her to focus on her riding as well as her schooling. They are both receiving a high-quality education while studying in different countries.
I would certainly encourage other parents to consider online schooling for their children. Every child is carefully followed and nurtured by the teachers who offer so much more support that traditional schools have time to offer. As their parents, we receive a report on a daily and weekly basis, which puts our mind at ease.
Alessio, what are the hardest parts of your life?
The hardest part is travelling around and not having as much time to hang out with my friends. However, I’ve managed to find a good balance by seeing friends outside school, and through the online school; something that King’s InterHigh encourages.
The pandemic has of course disrupted everyone’s lives but for me, learning online has reduced my chance of becoming unwell due to Coronavirus, so I’ve been able to attend more races!
Do you have any tips for other students facing a similar challenge of balancing education with a passion?
When the pandemic began, I realised studying at King’s InterHigh would be the ideal opportunity for so many people. Its benefits are obvious for those like myself, but there are so many other people who simply don’t respond well to classroom-based learning. Whether they struggle with noise and crowds, are on the autistic spectrum, have faced bullying or simply realised during the pandemic they learn better online, King’s InterHigh is an option that should be considered by many more people.
In terms of the working environment, it’s so good to be able to study in a quiet place where you don’t get distracted. I recommend keeping your phone away when studying, to avoid the temptation of looking at it all the time. Another piece of advice for other students is to set small achievable goals and celebrate the smaller victories along the way. These milestones help you stay motivated over time!
What are your ambitions for the future?
My short-term academic goal at Kings InterHigh is to achieve ‘gold’ in my studies, which relates to my assessment grades, and my lessons progress. From there, I hope to get a business degree, as I want to start my own business at some point, potentially with my dad.
My short-term racing goals are to win as many races as I can! At the moment, I’m with Ian Lougher Racing and my next big race is the Italian Championship. The one after that is the Swiss Championship, followed by three races: one in Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. Then, in September, it’s the British Championship; one at Silverstone and one in Alton Park, and in 2023 my biggest challenge is the full British Super-bike championships. There’s lots of races for me to concentrate on!
In terms of my long term goals, in the next ten years I see myself competing in the world championships! That would mean so much to me.
Alessio’s father Francesco adds: When I started working, my ambition was to leave something to my son and daughter. My hope is that after my son gets his degree, he could potentially start working with me. I think running a business you love with people you love would be brilliant!
When you have the ambition to do something, and you want to find a balance between ambition and education, you should choose an online school for sure!