Former Student SuccessPosted on: 05/02/2019
When Roman Kenny-Manning came to our school, it was all about the tennis – and it was clear that he was a talented individual right from the start, taking part and being successful in a great many tournaments. However from my perspective as his German teacher, the person I saw was conscientious, diligent, driven and ambitious, who I hoped would continue with his language studies, but could not be sure that he would. When talking to students about their option choices my advice has always been the same – pick what you like, what you’re good at and what will be useful, so I was very happy when Roman decided to continue with German.
Over the years we were able to develop a strong working relationship where the priority was to achieve the best possible outcome with the best effort being made. This does not mean that there weren’t lighter moments…one of my favourites being when Roman ended up missing his stop for school and ended up going on a mystery tour around South Wigston. He was so comically indignant when he finally made it to school and told us about his start to the day, that we all ended up having a major fit of the giggles at his expense. And in that it shows the measure of the student – as much as he is able to be funny and witty himself, he is also able to laugh at the unexpected curveballs that life throws us sometimes – and this resilience is also key to his personality and the reason why he has gone from us to achieve such amazing success.
Having secured an excellent set of GCSE results in the summer of 2016, Roman went on to Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth College to pursue his A-Levels in English, Philosophy and German and that was where I thought it would end – another student moving on to the next chapter of their lives, knowing that I had had a small part to play, but extremely pleased that he’d chosen to take German further beyond our school.
In the Autumn term of 2016, Roman contacted me to see if I would be able to coach him with his German speaking. Of course I was happy to help and so began 18 months of regular coaching to help him achieve his goals. Roman was clear that he wanted to go to university, but when he told me where he wanted to go I was completely bowled over by his ambitions – including Harvard University in America, Oxford University, Durham University and UCL in London. To pardon the tennis pun, Roman ‘smashed it’ at his interviews for the universities. Oxford became his first choice where he wanted to study Jurisprudence and German, with a view to pursuing a career in law. Without exception, all of the universities offered him a place at their institution. His success was within touching distance.
Come the final exam season in 2018, Roman was still diligently working away and had moments where self-doubt crept in, but again his natural resilience saw him through to the end of his exams, after which, he took a much needed rest from all of the studying. Fast forward to August 2018, where in the morning, I received a call. It was Roman letting me know that he had got all the grades he needed in his results and his place at Oxford was assured. Absolutely amazing.
When I reflect on my time teaching Roman I can say wholeheartedly that it has been my absolute pleasure to teach him and see how this young man has grown and developed. He has been inspirational in the way he has gone about pursuing his dreams, not accepting that there are any limits to his aims but just driving onwards, taking all opportunities that have come his way to build to his future success.
Roman is now studying at Oxford University at Corpus Christi College for an honours degree in Jurisprudence and German. The world is his oyster and he is going out there grabbing it with both hands. We are all exceptionally proud of his achievements.