Bursary Profile: Beth Pennington (Class of 2010)
My name is Bethany Pennington and I attended Withington Girls’ School from the age of eleven years old. I am from a family of dairy farmers and, alongside my sisters, am the first generation in our family to go to sixth form and onwards to undergraduate education. I attended a state primary school and was encouraged to sit the entrance exams for Withington by my parents. This was not an easy decision for them, as they were aware that they would not be able to afford the school fees, and I would only be able to take up a place if the school could offer some form of financial support. They explained to me that I was not to be too hopeful and that, even if I were to pass the entrance examinations, it was most likely that I would not be able to attend.
The news that, after passing the entrance exams, the School was going to provide me with a Bursary to cover part of my school fees was difficult to comprehend at such a young age. However, I now feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity for such an outstanding education. I am proud that my parents had the foresight to understand the power of an exemplary learning environment in moulding your future.
This year I qualified as a Doctor and have now started my first job. Withington provided me with the skills and confidence to fight for my ambitions. It was not an easy path to my final career; I was never your typical scientist and I found A-Level Chemistry particularly challenging. However, Withington not only gave me an education, it also allowed me the opportunity to be educated alongside interesting and talented young women. This unique culture of determination, passion, and the fierce right to individuality encouraged me to believe that anything was within my grasp.
I have missed most during my university experience the incomparable ‘spirit of Withington’. This is a school with an insatiable appetite for opportunity. They are unafraid to congratulate achievement and promote self-belief in young people. It is so rare in today’s society to be part of a community with an atmosphere that inspires inquisitive minds on a daily basis.
I am very grateful that, due to the generosity of the Bursary Scheme, my educational experiences were not limited by a lack of financial means. Once these constraints are lifted, you are gifted as a Withington pupil with a lifelong ethos: do not to be afraid to rise above and beyond expectations.
Bethany Pennington, September 2015
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