David Johnson is studying art and design technology at A ‘level as well as studying performing arts as a BTEC.
This is his St David’ College story.
Whilst a pupil at Maple Hayes in Lichfield, in Staffordshire, I was confirmed to have dyslexia.
Maple Hayes is a specialist school and research centre for dyslexia and now has links to St David’s College for pupils who could potentially be looking to study A-levels, as it does not have a sixth form.
When my journey at Maple Hayes ended in year 11 St David’s College was the first place that was recommended to me by the Principle and founder of the school.
When I first started boarding it was overwhelming to take in as it was a new whole experience. But over time with the care of my house parents Mr & Mrs Matthews (Cader Idris) and the support from the boarding community I soon settled in, everyone was welcoming and showed me there is much that can be done and explored from the holiday excursions, to the weekend activities to take part in and trying something new but most importantly to me where friendships are made which is exactly what I wanted to happen.
From there I wanted to get stuck in with as much as possible, within the 2-3 years I had, not just the sports or house events but also some of the academic experiences the school offers. One of the biggest events I took part in was my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award which I was partially dreading. The thought of a long walk up mountains didn’t really appeal to me but luckily there was an option to go and do sailing for my expedition- so I took the chance. One of my most memorable achievement I had been nominated for was the WJEC Design Technology innovations awards for my design technology A-level project creating an educational game to teach Braille.
As a person, my confidence has grown not only to understand how to persevere and engage in work and hobbies but also how to get on with others, you could say I almost felt reborn in a sense. During my time, I have become a house prefect to later becoming a school prefect. Because of these experiences I have adjusted my aspirations even higher thinking of university and working in the world of design.
The bonds that are made with the staff and others around school are important like one big family which branches out even beyond the walls of St David’s. When the 2017 leavers said their farewells, there were tears amongst the whole group including myself and at the time I had only been at the school for two years and it shows how much and how close you become a part of the St David’s family. The first words I heard when returning for my final academic year from the headmaster wasn’t welcome back but rather “welcome home.” I’m severely Dyslexic with other special needs but yet having the ability to write this article and do a number of amazing things, this says a lot in itself and it doesn’t just have to me. So when all hope seems lost there is always a way to push back and achieve what you want to achieve whether small or huge it can be done and St David’s College has shown me this fact of life and has always been willing to help me to the full.
Since writing this David has gained his Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award and will be attending a ceremony at St James' Palace to collect the honour.