I studied at Simon Langton Boys Grammar School for 7 years and it essentially made me into who I am today.
The Langton Attributes - Personal Development over the Years
Fortitude (Year 7)
Creativity (Year 8)
Collaboration & Independence (Year 9)
Resourcefulness (Year 10)
Integrity (Year 11)
Respect (Year 12)
Altruism (Year 13)
Reflection (1st Year at Cam)
I came to the Langton with no one I knew from my primary school doubting my capabilities. The year before I joined, I had trained myself very hard to get into the school and was still nervous about the new environment and routine. Secondary school was very different to primary school and it appeared very quickly that I was not the only one who was finding the first few terms hard. That new feeling of taking two buses to school, coming in to a tutor group, registering in the morning and then dispersing to find your lessons in the big school full of older students was not just intimidating but very stressful at first. I still remember to this day where the lessons seemed hard not because they were hard but because for the first time, I required 6 hours of continuous focus and not on a single subject but 13 different ones. I remember carrying a heavy bag home every day (once weighed in at a solid 4.5kg). The year became easier though with every passing term, I kept learning new things and I grew to realise that the first year was about discipline and more specifically fortitude. Sports was very hard as I was not tall or strong and the sterness of the sports teacher made it very difficult to stay strong but yet I stuck through. Today I am glad for that because it made me resilient for years to come.
A year had already passed at the Langton and I was only glad to not be one of the youngest anymore. This year led me to meet some of the people that changed my life for several years to come. Being only in Year 8, I joined the LUCID project hoping to learn new things! I joined a Raspberry Pi club to learn Python and did game development at home during my spare time (or should I say all the time :-) ). I became very interested in technology and did another club on app development. This was the year of creativity. I took almost every opportunity that excited me and had begun to find my place in the year group more and more. My enthusiasm showed in my work and I began to be liked by teachers. I joined the school team for the UKMT team challenge and we even went to the finals. I enjoyed design and IT a lot more and I became better over time. By the end of the year, my skills in programming and maths were very good and it is probably what makes me who I am today.
Another year had passed and I became more involved in academics. I would work on game development still a good amount but less than before but this was the year in which I developed and published my first Android game (Happy Roll) on the Play Store (then called "Android Market").
As my first volunteering job, I tutored/helped children (of my age and below) at Kumon. I also happened to grow stronger as I joined the basketball club the morning before school.
This year also included my bronze DofE and a trip to Rowlyn (a cottage in Wales with no running water or electricity). All these events taught me to work with other people in a group and taught me independence. The teamwork involved in the DofE and in basketball meant I made a few good friends over that period of time.
By the end of the year, I earned the year group award for Overall Academic Achievement and made my parents were very proud. This year really changed me from the boy I was in Year 7 to a more mature teenager.
This year was actually a big transition atleast by the management of the school. Some really good teachers left the school but that was life. The years for GCSEs had also started and teachers were told to put slightly more pressure than before. As the saying went at the Langton, "Gentle pressure constantly applied!" it really turned students into diamonds. As the year for GCSEs had started, the majority of this year went into learning and coursework (mostly coursework though). Geography coursework was a report about a field trip, the design coursework was a year on a single design portfolio (mine was the SoundCurve & AirTwist Sound System), the computing coursework was an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) related project and the French coursework was the speaking part of the GCSE. These were the four optional subjects and all of them took up most of the time in the year. I published two more games on the Play Store by the end of the year but I mostly left game development from here onwards. The other subjects (English Language, English Literature, Triple Sci, Maths) just went on as normal except that I took the maths GCSE at the end of this year. This actually was very beneficial as it made me some really good friends in the year above and I am still very glad to know them. At this point, I also joined the chess club and started taking an active interest in what was once mine and my grandfather's hobby. This entire year was about being resourceful and using whatever ideas and resources I could get to successfully accomplish my courseworks and also taking opportunities that otherwise would not have been available had it not been for this year.
This year was probably the first important year (but not really, GCSEs didn't matter then and don't matter now). I did start focussing more on academics but I also actually started enjoying being a part of the oldest non-sixth form year. I did afterschool chess club and revision sessions (for Geography and English, funny that...) in the dark evenings at the start of the year. Even with the dull atmosphere, it was still very enjoyable and my chess friends (who were mostly in the year above) became very close. The year was interesting as I also happened to mix in with the sixth form while not being a part of them due to also doing AS maths early (although it almost became a reason to just socialise/relax).
About the revision sessions for Geography and English, it was funny that the ones I put the maximum effort in were the ones I got As not A*s in. My favourite GCSE was actually design as I got full marks in both my coursework and at the end I had 2 stunning portfolios and the A* of course. I also learnt a lot of CAD during the two years and it is another one of my cherished skills. This also actually made my design teacher give me the opportunity to apply for the Arkwright scholarship at the end of the year and once again was one of the most important steps which encouraged me to study engineering. At the end of the year I also became more involved with LUCID as GCSEs finished early and I had a very long summer holiday. During this time I worked on the LUCID Dashboard which neatly allowed the visualisation of LUCID data with many future possibilities for analysis.
Over the year, I became more mature, independent and proactive with everything I did and I achieved 9 A*s and 2 As for my GCSEs and not so well in AS Maths (disappointing but fine the next year). This year taught me integrity via maturity and resilience/failure and it provided a very good lesson for my future years.
Finally sixth form had started and undoubtedly it was almost like starting Year 7 again without the stress of lack of experience. This was the first year where I was properly working with girls (excluding last year) not that it really affected me but it was worth noting. This was also the first time I suddenly deeply respected the Langton attributes for what it had taught me in the last 5 years. It so happens that not all Langtonians held the attributes and it also happened that some people that joined in Year 12 actually did hold those attributes but in general it was more so that the students who had joined since Year 7 were much more well versed with the school than the others (again not that it really affected me but worth noting). In general, it was different to the last 5 years and I had a greater respect for my teachers who took the time to teach the A-Level subjects. I valued the school a lot more for what it had given me and still do today and therefore this year really taught me respect. I struggled with A-Level chemistry and put the time in afterschool sessions but still dropped it at the start of January due to doing 5 subjects at the time. Physics was a whole new field and content was very new but once again it was doable with the investment of mine and my teachers' time. Maths was also an anxious territory as I had not done well last year and so wanted to secure a high as possible grade in the Maths A-Level at the end of the year to get better university offers in Year 13. I also passed my driving test with a lot of time, effort and money and achieved the A* in my Maths A-Level. This year was undoubtedly new but I got through it making many good friends along the way.
This year also got me my largest project finally fulfilled. My research on classifying particles in space got me my EPQ, my computing coursework and a science paper published. This earned the respect of many scientists and I am very grateful to everyone who worked with me on this project.
The final year at the Langton was probably one of the best years and probably one of the most diverse and hardest years. A-Levels hit very hard and so I put in maximum time and effort into my A-Levels. Personally I really enjoyed Further Maths as an A-Level while Physics and Computer Science involved mostly memorisation (not the most interesting). I really wanted to succeed and finally give back to the school in the form of reputation for the time and effort they had put into me into making me who I am. This year taught me altruism in the highest form because it was about giving to my family, my friends and my teachers everything they deserved. I very nicely thanked my teachers at the end of the year with gifts and was extremely glad to celebrate my results with my friends and family.
1st Year at Cam
The above is the reflection of my career at the Langton. The years at the Langton have significantly developed me into a person I am very proud to be and it would not be possible without the support of the school, my teachers and most importantly my parents who stood by me all along through the journey.