Alumni - Jodi Thomas
Manningtree High School. Where do I even start? A home! MHS isn’t just a school, or a building, or an 8:00-15:00 routine, its a home for each and every one of it’s students. From the minute you put on your MHS blazer with the poignant motto across the pocket, you become part of a very extended family. I know it sounds corny, but my time at Manningtree really was the best time of my life. Not just from the friends I made, the trips I went on, the knowledge I learnt – but from the personal lessons and life advice that I gained along the way. This in turn has allowed my life to blossom into what it is now.
A school isn’t possible without its staff and teachers, there are many, many teachers that stand out, but here are just a just a few to name: Firstly, Mr Swift – He had a way of making everyone feel good enough and talented, and that is evident by the musical geniuses that the school has always produced. Mr Crosby – the BEST form tutor ever (even if I am a bit bias!). Mrs Howlett – I can honestly say that I would not have held my cool through my exams, and achieved the grades I have if it wasn’t for her help, support and stern words convincing me that I HAD done enough, and lastly Miss Kolendo – She has a way of teaching her students that is breath taking. Her determination and passion for her students to do well is so inspiring!
So when it came to leaving, I was very apprehensive and worried I wouldn’t find a learning environment quite like it ever again. Unfortunately, sixth form college wasn’t for me. I studied there for a year and got my AS Levels before making the very courageous decision to spread my wings, break away from the norm and do something that was a bit of a risk. I had to put my happiness first, and so I left home at 17, and moved down to Falmouth in Cornwall (I don’t think I could have moved further away if I tried) to follow my dream and study an extended diploma in Countryside Management, specialising in Marine Biology and Ecology (perfect, right?). Well, that move was a game changer and the best decision I ever made, but one that was incredibly tough and I could not have done without the life skills and personal attributes that Manningtree had given me. School taught me that saying hello with the biggest smile on your face, being friendly and polite, and going out of your way to help others, but also to ask for help yourself will put you one step above the rest, and my gosh it did! When times were a little tricky, I’d smile and tell myself that it would soon improve and it always did. I wouldn’t have been able to move away so young without the confidence and determination I had gained from school. While studying down in Falmouth I had the time of my life. It was the dream course, with amazing people around me, studying in what has now become one of my all time favourite places! I met some incredibly talented marine biologists that have helped me to develop and further my knowledge and was lucky enough to experience and see some incredible things. In my summer holiday, I decided to volunteer in Greece for a Turtle Conservation Project for 6 weeks, protecting, monitoring and saving turtles which was an absolutely phenomenal experience.
I decided I didn’t want to go through typical university, but wanted to gain real life experience of working. I applied for lots of different jobs and opportunities and am now incredibly proud to say I am now studying an Environmental Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship, working full time in London for a global company called WSP, while being sponsored to complete an Environmental Science degree at the same time in Kingston University. Somehow, everything has fallen into place. A lot of people would call that luck, but I would much rather put it down to hard work and motivation, two things I will hold MHS totally accountable for.
I know I keep saying it; but really and truly, MHS is a pretty incredible school.