Story/Interview August 2, 2021
Shining a light on our soaring students
At InterHigh, we are lucky to work with exceptional students, excelling in many subject areas and pursuing a variety of passions. The flexibility of our timetables and environment mean that our students have the opportunity to explore and focus on hobbies, side-hustles and career opportunities alongside their education. Here’s a flavour of what some of our students have achieved over the past year and what inspiring visions they hold for their futures.
Meet one of InterHigh’s star students, Gabriel McFarlane , a serial inventor and YouTube whizz. He became fascinated by mechanics and electronics four years ago when he began learning about inventions at school. Since then, he has created an array of robots, vehicles and mechanisms by himself, showcasing and pushing his creative and technical abilities.
One of the most exciting creations Gabriel has assembled is his Van de Graaff generator, which uses a moving belt to accumulate electric charge. This device has very high electric potentials as it produces high voltage electricity at low current levels.
Additionally, Gabriel recently created an ESP32-powered watch, which runs on low-cost, low-power microcontrollers that integrate Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth. He also created a remote-control car with a high-power laser turret that can burn wood and plans to invent and create much more in the future.
More than academia
Gabriel believes school isn’t just about academia. He explained his inventions are possible partly because he caters his education to his interests and personal needs.
Camilla Prokhorova, one of our keen art students who excelled in her final pointillism art project, agrees with Gabriel. She says, “I’ve learned how to live a balanced life, such as eating correct food, calculating money prices, how to help others, and other life skills”. As a result, she has been able to enjoy and create truly brilliant artwork while pursuing other interests including zoology and science.
Liadán Wilkes has also come on leaps and bounds both academically and personally. She is fascinated by learning and hopes to become a teacher, occupational therapist or speech and language therapist. She reflects, “thanks to InterHigh, I am in a place with my mental health and my studies in school that I can think about my future and even start to make my first steps towards it… I know whatever I do, I want to help other people”.
Becky Tyler, an inspiring student at InterHigh, has faced many challenges when it comes to her education. She has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and cannot talk or use her hands. Yet, she produces amazing paintings, some of which were recently featured on Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4 and is also an incredible games developer. In April, she was the youngest speaker at the European Game Accessibility conference! We’re so proud of all she is achieving and that she has the support she needs to turn her dreams into a reality.
When students are in a good place personally and mentally, there’s no limit to what they can achieve academically and in line with their passions.
Gabriel has utilised InterHigh’s internationalism to strengthen his skillset. He has spoken with students from all over the world to learn more about alternative mechanical techniques. He says, “InterHigh is global – I’ve talked to people from dozens of countries”, which has helped expand and improve his ideas.
Like Gabriel, Sophia van Leeuwen, a Year 11 student who shines when studying animals and wildlife in particular, has also been inspired by the international nature of her education. She dreams of visiting every country in the world over her lifetime and explains, “I am a huge travel enthusiast and… I would love to discover and explore many new cultures and countries”. Her ambition is to travel throughout her life by becoming an international TV wildlife presenter and we look forward to seeing her become the new Michaela Strachan or Liz Bonnin on screen in future!
Similarly, Amirmohammad Owrangi, a passionate Year 10 geography student and star mathematician, says, “I want to discover more about myself and the ravishing world around me which can be gained in having new experiences in the journeys and trips”. He hopes to become a mathematician which he feels could be achieved anywhere in the world.
Making the most of our extracurricular activities
Many of our students bolster their skills by making the most of the opportunities available to them. This includes our inventor Gabriel, who has gone above and beyond by learning coding and programming as part of extracurricular activities. He says, “I have learned how to program, which is a skill I use in almost all my projects” and something he will no doubt benefit from in the future.
Mariya Venediktova, a Year 10 coding enthusiast who designs her own programmes and online games, has also made the most of additional activities to further her understanding and opportunities. She tells us, “I’ve loved extracurricular courses, such as CGD, which are relevant to my aspirations, and which you would not be able to find in most other schools”. She hopes to one day become a professional game developer and we have no doubt that she will succeed.
Lucy Emily Williams, an extremely talented artist in Year 11 who excels in her study of animals, has also taken part in additional arts and crafts classes to help boost her confidence. She says, “I’ve been inspired to learn who I am, increase my confidence, and take up loads of hobbies including stained glass, fused glass, sewing, drawing, painting, learning about animals”. She has been able to challenge herself and discover passions she never had the chance to explore before. We think you’ll agree that her artwork is absolutely incredible!
Students pursuing their passions
Gabriel, our inventor extraordinaire, continues to follow his passion of technology and invention! He runs an exciting YouTube channel through which he shares his creations with the world and inspires other young people to push boundaries and experiment with mechanics.
Similarly, Koda Carothers, a Year 9 student who loves the ocean, is following her ambition to base her life around the sea. She hopes to become an oceanographer or marine biologist. She says, “InterHigh is the best school I have been to in my whole life because I can learn well and do what I love to do most, surfing”. The flexibility of lessons means that Koda is able to take to the water when the surf is good, and still maintain her education.
Natalie Ho agrees. She has wanted to become a doctor since the age of nine and balances her medical studies and GCSEs with rowing – a keen interest of hers. She says, “medicine requires qualities that are very important to me, such as life-long learning, dedication, and interpersonal abilities. InterHigh fosters self-reflection and motivation; skills I know will help me achieve my medical ambitions”. She is looking forward to undertaking a medical audit position in Hong Kong this summer and will volunteer at her local hospital to raise money for children and patients. How inspirational and we wish you all the luck Natalie!
Our students pursue many different interests and skills and we’re proud and very supportive of their passions. As a school, we foster independence and encourage each student to carve out their own path and achieve their dreams both while studying here and beyond.