Alumni of the 2010's
Clare Adams (2010), Maria Wilkie (2012), Carmelo Viviani (2016), Zoe Martin (2017), Will Pearce (2018), Cedar Rose Johnson (2019), Jacob Collins (2019), Gemma Caruana (2019) and Jordan Russell (2019)
Clare Adams - left The Sele School in 2010
I left The Sele School in 2010 after completing A-Levels in Dance, Drama, Maths and English Literature. After a LOT of sweat and tears auditioning for Acting and Musical Theatre Institutions in the country, I was awarded a place to study Professional Dance and Musical Theatre at The Urdang Academy London. I took a year out in order to afford my fees working four jobs at the same time. I successfully auditioned to be a Parade Dancer at DisneyLand and moved to Paris for the summer, the first of many countries I where I am so grateful to have had the chance to perform.
After a demanding but brilliant three years at The Urdang Academy, doing between 7-10 hours a day of Acting, Singing, Jazz, Hiphop, Contemporary, Tap, Partnerwork, Music Theory as well as Theatre Studies for five days a week, I graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree and then signed with a London Talent Agent. I could do five auditions in one week to be told NO at every single one. It is a very harsh industry but when you love it you persevere. I was offered a job as a Singer/Dancer onboard Holland America Line Cruises in 2015. The company flew me to Los Angeles (which was INCREDIBLE) where I spent six weeks learning seven shows, songs, lyrics, harmonies and choreography. I explored Hollywood at weekends and then flew to Florida to join the ship. Onboard, I spent nine months performing all the shows I had learnt as we sailed from Boston to Montreal in Canada, the Caribbean and all over the Mediterranean.
I have been travelling and performing as a Singer/Dancer now for five years all over the world visiting 50 different countries including Canada, South America, Caribbean, The Bahamas, Australia, Africa, states of America and even ANTARCTICA! I have hiked mountains in Alaska; taken helicopters rides to the top of Glaciers; charmed snakes; walked with wild Antarctic Penguins; swam with sharks; found wild Grizzly Bears; visited the largest Waterfall system in the world in Brazil; watched the Northern Lights; and seen the most incredible sunsets. I have been blessed to do these amazing things whilst also getting to do what I love the most in the world which is to sing and dance. If you love something, really go for it and put your mind to it; it is never going to be easy, but your personality will also take you a long way.
Maria Wilkie - left The Sele School in 2012
I attended The Sele School from 2005 until 2012, leaving with A Levels in Drama and Photography. For me, seven years at school just wasn't enough - they really were the best years of my life. My absolute favourite memories of school (there are SO many to choose from) would have to be the Ski Trips to Italy. I went on two and I still think about them now. Mr Millar put so much effort into the organisation of the trips and we really all did have the best time. I made friends with people I probably wouldn't have even had the chance to speak to around school. I don't think I have ever laughed so much and learnt so much at the same time.
I had been waitressing in the evenings and on the weekends during my last few years of school so was already used to the working world. When I left in 2012 I landed my first full time job working at Thomas Cook as a Travel Advisor. I've always had a passion for seeing the world but working there made the passion grow even more. I realised just how big the world is and how much there was yet for me to explore. It was 2016 when I took my first BIG trip (solo) to Australia - it was a holiday of a life time. I loved it so much that I went to stay out there for three and a half months in 2017, the most eye opening, amazing experience that I will be forever grateful for; Australia is somewhere I hope to end up one day.
I also spent some time with a homeware and giftware company working as a buying assistant. I was given the MOST unreal opportunities here, including visiting China & Hong Kong twice - accompanying the buyer and having the chance to give my opinions on current styles/trends. I have seen so much of the world just through my work and I realise how extremely lucky I am for that. Since then, I have been working in administration which led me to my current job which I love. I am now working as an account manager for a Roofing company. Account management is a perfect role for me - I get to speak to people all day every day (something I’ve always loved doing - sorry teachers) and I am learning so much as I go. I still have my passion for photography and am always taking pictures wherever I am!
Although I didn't carry on with the Drama, it will always hold a special place for me. Hands down the best years of my life in that class!! The drama productions are memories that I will never forget. We all worked so hard and had so much fun at the same time. I wouldn't have the confidence I have now if it wasn't for these experiences. Ultimately, I am so happy with where I am now and I really do have Sele to thank for that.
The Sele School really did make me the person I am today. The support and encouragement from every single member of staff throughout my seven years is something I will always be grateful for. I learnt so much and although when at school you think "Is this really relevant" - I can finally say it was. I realise how fortunate I was to have had such a good education. I faced some of the most difficult experiences of my life whilst there, but everyone kept me on the right track to ensure I had the best opportunities in life and I really have! Sele encourages everyone that they can do whatever they put their minds to - and I am living proof of that!!! I wish I could go back and do it all again.
Carmelo Viviani - left The Sele School in 2016
I attended The Sele School from 2009 to 2016 and completed Sixth form studying Sociology, Psychology and Drama.
I was always interested in learning and have very fond memories of my time as a student at Sele, the teachers were always trying to get me to improve but never made me feel bad for making a mistake. You could tell that Mr Grinter (our Head of Form and Physics Teacher) loved his job and loved teaching even when some of us weren't in the mood to learn; I still look toward the Orion constellation and look for that tiny red dot in the night sky, waiting for it to go supernova as he told me.
Mr Miller (our Head of Key Stage) never treated us as children, but as growing adults, he was funny and down to earth and took part in games of extra curricular dodgeball with vigour. As for Mrs Vivian (Head of Performing Arts), her passion and vision during every drama lesson and while producing our annual school plays translated to some of the best and most cherished memories of my tenure; performing so many characters and learning so much about stories and people in the process.
The teachers, as well as the lessons and learning environment of the school, built my confidence throughout my time at Sele, from arriving as a Year 7 too afraid to talk to my peers, to in Year 12, a drama student who performed in nearly all school plays, performed with the school choir in France and had numerous leading roles in the local theatre groups musicals. Five years later, I am now a full time professional actor.
I left The Sele and began my journey as an actor by studying in London at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts for one year; I worked full time as a barrista and travelled at night to the big city to learn how to pretend for a living. I think it was safe to say it was fairly surreal.
After my course ended and a disappointing audition cycle of being told I didn't have enough experience in the field to train full time, I spent another year making coffee to save up funds to allow me to take the leap of faith and do acting full time. I was petrified but within three months of being in the background of some films just to keep me going, I moved to Paris after successfully auditioning to be a performer at DisneyLand Paris alongside the likes of Goofy, Geppetto, Hook and Tigger.
I performed next to animated icons for three months before moving back home in order to begin to address the issue of "Experience" because I'm anything but petty. I contacted a friend of a friend who was a promising young director studying at the University of Hertfordshire and after an embarrassingly formal message, he got me involved in numerous of his short film projects, and I'm still assisting him on projects for his company "The Threelancers" to this day.
During the summer of 2019, I landed the lead of my first feature film "The Moment Trap", the experience was a tough but extremely enjoyable time working on this intricate story. Then by 2020, with rumours of the CV-19 Pandemic floating around the film studios I took that as a sign that maybe I should buy a microphone so that if I had to stay inside to stay safe, I could try and work from home. From that i have now gone full time in voice acting, working on numerous videogames, adverts, shorts and most recently a 10-hour Audiobook of "Palanshia-The Gift"
Looking back on everything over the past five years, I really can't think of how I would have got here without Sele School. I still miss going in on a cold winters day and just learning something new or being able to see my friends. Writing this in 2021, there's no doubt that students are going through an extremely harrowing experience but I'm certain the staff at The Sele are making the student's experience the best they can possibly make it; I know, because they have been doing that since the day I arrived.
Zoe Martin - left The Sele School in 2017
After 5 years at The Sele School, I took an exciting opportunity to attend a full-time football academy at Oaklands College, whilst studying for an extended diploma in Sport & Exercise Science. Leaving school after my GCSEs and taking an unconventional route was daunting, and far from what I had thought I would’ve done.
From the moment I joined Sele in Year 7 I took part in as much as I possibly could. Speaking at an Open Evening just weeks after I joined the school; leading a rotary youth speaks team to the regional finals; taking part in all school productions, sporting and performing arts events, were just some highlights of my time at Sele.
After finishing my two years at Oaklands, in which time I underwent major reconstruction on my knee, I was no longer able to meet the physical demands football places on your knee joints. This led me to take a drastic change.
Now, I find myself on the Government Economic Service Degree Apprenticeship Programme - a very competitive programme, that is the only one available in the UK. A life changing opportunity, where a lot of hard work landed me a funded BSc Economics Degree and a full time job as an economist in the Ministry of Justice.
Little did I know, that before even completing my first year, I would’ve successfully be chosen as a UK delegate to the Youth G7 - a mirror summit of the official G7 with final communiques feeding into the G7 Sherpas. The summit itself, which took place virtually (as opposed to in Washington DC) this June, has enabled me to amplify youth voices of the UK on an international platform. At national level, the three other UK delegates and I have already met with the Prime Ministers G7/G20 Sherpa to discuss how we can take policy proposals forward and influence UK politics at the highest levels.
The 2019 GESDAP Cohort
Being on track to finish my first year with a 1st in all modules, I cannot wait to see what the future holds, for both my career but also the doors being a Youth G7 delegate opens.
If you’d asked me in Year 7 what I would have been doing in eight years time, I would have said something very different. My widespread interests have given me so many amazing opportunities, and it really has shown me, that if you want something, and you put your mind to it, you can achieve it, however big and scary it may seem.
Will Pearce - left The Sele School in 2018
I left The Sele School after completing my A-Levels in 2018 and went on to enjoy an amazing summer before starting my apprenticeship in Chartered Surveying. The final year of school had, for me, been spent painstakingly applying for countless apprenticeships for which many of my applications were rejected. It had all felt worth it, though, when I finally succeeded. My future was planned out. Everything felt secure. I was so excited to join the working world and earn real money.
I then left the apprenticeship after two months.
It turned out that the role I had succeeded in gaining just wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it: I wasn’t ready to start working full-time and I was unhappy. Needless to say, this doesn’t mean that apprenticeships themselves are bad; I personally just wasn’t suited to that kind of environment at the time. Of course, it was a shame that things didn’t quite go to plan but leaving as early as I did was the best thing that I could possibly have done. I felt happy again and I was free.
Sadly, freedom doesn’t last long when you don’t have any money. It is for that reason that Costa Coffee in Hertford would go on to gain one of the greatest baristas of all time. It was a fun job, and it kept me alive for a year whilst I decided what to do with my life.
Throughout school I had been absolutely certain that I did not want to go to university and then within the space of two months my mind was entirely changed.
I am now midway through my second semester studying Economics at the University of Liverpool. I have loved every moment, but I do not regret the path that I took to get here. Taking that relatively stress-free year to make ridiculously overpriced coffee let me reset and begin to understand what I want to do in life. Most likely that won’t involve making coffee, but it was a well-needed year.
Cedar Rose Johnson - left The Sele School in 2019
I started Year 7 at Sele in 2012 and I remember wanting to take part in literally every activity and opportunity there was: joining every club; sports team and taking part in the school drama productions and DofE; I am very similar now in that I have a lot of different projects going on at once. One of the best times at Sele was when we did ‘Our Day Out’; the drama productions are always fabulous anyway but ‘Our Day Out’ was something else and getting to showcase all of our hard work at Hertford Theatre was a great way to end Year 11!
I stayed on in Sele’s Sixth Form, studying Sociology, Photography and Film Studies. So many hilarious memories were made in Sixth Form in such a short space of time…one of which being when ‘Reggie the Magpie' had somehow flown in and trapped itself inside the sixth form block one break time. Of course, dozens of sixth formers soon gathered around, predicting the fate our new-found feathered friend but no one guessed that two Site Team members, Matt Martin and Richard Warne, plus our teacher Mr Grinter would soon be faced with the task of capturing and releasing the Magpie. I never thought I’d see my physics teacher throw a lab coat in the general direction of a Magpie, only to be thrown off course by the aerodynamic structure and velocity of said lab coat…Eventually, with the support of Mr Warne’s trusty net behind him, Matt safely captured the corvid and released it back into the wild.
I left Sele in 2019 after seven brilliant years and made my way straight from the classroom to film set (which was so exciting)! In the summer of 2019, I worked on my first feature film, ‘The Moment Trap’. The film was written and directed by my Dad, I feel so fortunate and so grateful to have grown up in and around film and music production and would love to build a career in this field.
I began helping out on the pre-production elements of the film in 2018, helping out with prop design and creation, as well as some casting! The film shoot began in July of 2019 and principle photography was finished by the end of the summer! During the shoot, I took on the role of 2nd AD and was very much ‘thrown in at the deep end’ as I would be working alongside industry professionals whom I’d never met before, doing a job I’d never done before.
Fast forward to 2020 and the film is in post-production! It’s so cool, seeing the film go from a collection of audio and video files to the first assembly and then to fine cuts of the film! I have continued to be part of the development of the film through writing music. Since quite a young age, I have always had a love for writing songs and putting on a show in the living room…!
On the 22nd April 2020, I released one of my songs, ‘Happy As A Happy Thing’. It seemed to be so relevant to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and I wanted to share it with people, bringing some sort of hope to those who may be finding these unprecedented times particularly difficult.
Happy as a Happy Thing by Cedar Rose Johnson
The tight-knit community at Sele was certainly a memorable one. If I had to do my schooling again, I would most certainly choose Sele every time! Teachers and students alike make Sele the lovely school it is and I am thankful to all the students and staff who had such a positive impact on me throughout my time there.
Jacob Collins - left The Sele School in 2019
I have just completed my first year at Southampton University reading Mathematics with Actuarial Sciences. My first year has covered a variety of subjects including Linear Algebra, Micro and Macro-Economics and Operational Research; however, my favourite module so far is Multivariable Calculus. Along with my studies, I have enjoyed the university social life, joining the Boxing Society and Clay Pigeon Shooting Society.
The Sele School, and, in particular, Miss ‘Kam’, sparked my passion for maths. The whole teaching team supported me as I worked towards achieving the A level results required to qualify for my chosen course and university.
I am very much looking forward to getting back to university in September to continue my course and consider my future career path.
Gemma Caruana - left The Sele School in 2019
I joined Sele in Year 7 in 2012 and every year presented me with a new opportunity, consequently I felt my confidence grow throughout my time there. I participated in a wide range of extra-curricular activities at Sele including Young Enterprise and working backstage doing the lighting for school productions and some school events. Doing the lighting for school productions was always an incredible experience and when the school’s production for ‘Our Day Out’ was performed at Hertford Theatre, that is something that I will never forget. It was actually the last school production that I was involved in before I left and it was a fantastic one to finish on.
Whilst in the Sixth Form I completed my DofE Gold which was another rewarding experience and although I am sure that everyone in my group wished I walked faster I found it to be both challenging and really fun. I had previously completed DofE Bronze in year 10 and although the Gold was harder due to it being 4 days instead of 2 I actually found it to be more enjoyable. For our presentation after the expedition we had created a video diary and looking back at it reminds me of the fun we had, such as singing or playing a game whilst we were walking so that we did not think about how much our feet were hurting.
In my final year at Sele I was lucky enough to have been successful in my application for Head Girl, a role that I had always wanted since year 7. This role meant that I got to speak at Open morning on my 18th birthday, co-present that year’s Prizes & Awards Evening and take a more active role within the Sele Sixth Form. It was another fun experience that I am incredibly grateful for.
Although I did a lot of things throughout my years at Sele I think that I would have to say the 2 years of Sixth Form were my favourite. Whilst studying A-Levels I got to do a whole range of extra-curriculars including DofE Gold and going skiing in Italy. If I had told my year 7 self everything that I would be doing whilst at Sele I would not have believed myself.
Gemma sent us an update in February 2023 and says: After leaving Sele in 2019 I went on to study for a BSc in Accountancy at the University of Nottingham.
I had started fencing in 2012 because my father takes part in the sport and I was curious; at home I fence with a local club and whilst at university I continued to fence and was lucky enough to compete on the Women’s Seconds team. I also discovered the gym which has been something new that I love, whilst continuing with my pre-existing hobbies of reading, writing and playing the keyboard.
Despite having such high hopes with university, I left in December 2021 for a myriad of reasons and although leaving means that I didn't graduate, it has turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. I started a full-time job in the following February as a travel administrator, not an area I ever expected to get involved in but I am so glad that I did. Not in the least because it means that I am going to Australia for two weeks in May! In spite of not completing my degree, I am grateful for having experienced university and for the experiences that have subsequently followed.
Jordan DJ Russell - left The Sele School in 2019
The Sele School has brought me to where I am today, studying Mathematics and Astrophysics at the Academic University of Keele in Newcastle under Lyme. I started at The Sele School in Year 7 moving on from Watton at Stone Primary and Nursery School.
I attended the summer school that The Sele offers which allows students to learn the layout of the school and meet their classmates and peers before the start of term to ease the transition from primary to secondary. A multitude of activities were offered during the summer school including netball and basketball games, an IT project for the week, and several creative workshops run through the week. We were also guided by the then Year 7’s who had offered to help out so that transitioning Year 6’s could meet and talk to students about what to expect from our new school.
Throughout my years at the Sele School, I took full advantage of all the clubs and activities offered by the school as well as all the trips. (UK based PGL camps, Belgium, Italy, France, and Japan).
In Year 7, I was a member of the Philosophy Club, which was run by the Religious Studies teacher at the time. We would gather at the end of the school day as a small group and discuss mind-bending topics such as “The Speed and nature of Darkness” and “The morality of Roman military discipline and its application to school time work”.
I was also a member of the Rugby and Athletics teams, where we had the opportunity to compete against other schools in the area. The mathematics department pushed me to compete in the National Mathematics Challenges and took me to several Oxbridge University Masterclasses.
I started to sing in the school choir in Year 9 where we would perform at the end of every term for either a Christmas concert or any other excuse to sing; rounding off the school talent show, busking in Tesco’s or singing a piece as an addition to the school play. We were also privileged to sing at a Cathedral in Paris and at Disneyland.
Through this, I was given the opportunity to take up music lessons for singing and an instrument of my choice, the saxophone, which I still play today.
Every year the Drama department would also put on a play which would run rehearsals for the first part of the year to perform after the Christmas break. I had the opportunity of performing in 3 plays. A dramatisation of Terry Pratchett’s “Wyrd Sisters”, an adaptation of Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Willy Russel’s “Our Day Out”.
I was able to participate in the Local Hertfordshire Young enterprise program in which our start-up “The Smelly Company” managed to turn a small profit in selling our handcrafted candles which we peddled at multiple events and shopping centres around Hertfordshire.
I was also given the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award: Bronze and Gold. In the award, we dedicated ourselves to a skill, sport, and volunteer work for, in total, two years over the two awards. After our individual dedication section, we then participated in expeditions where we were self-sufficient in the wilds of England and Scotland for two days on three occasions during the Bronze Award and three days and four days during the Gold Award.
In Year 12 I had the opportunity to visit Japan in July at the invitation of the Clifton Scientific Trust. It was a privilege to have been offered a place on this prestigious scheme. The trip was centred in Sendai a city in the North of Japan at the renowned TÅÂhoku University. I attended workshops where I researched and produced innovative science-supported defence and avoidance strategies in the wake of natural disasters. It was an experience I will never forget.
My greatest honour was to be the Head Boy of The Sele School (2018/19) in my final year. This school offered me a multitude of opportunities, for which I was incredibly grateful.