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News > School News > School Meeting: Head Girl - Katie Clements

School Meeting: Head Girl - Katie Clements

Katie reflects on the friendships she has made at Badminton and how these friendships have shaped her future plans.
24 Jun 2020
School News
When I joined Badminton in Year 6, it was the first time that I had really been able to meet other girls from outside of the UK. I had never been at school with international students and so coming to Badminton was enriching for me on so many levels. During break times in the rough patch I quickly became friends with another new girl. I had come from Cheddar, but she’d come from Beijing and this was fascinating for me. Our shared sense of humour overcame any initial language barrier there may have been. On a sleepover in the Bartlett common room, I learnt my first words of Mandarin and how to fold origami hearts.
 
This was the first of many international connections I now have, which have enhanced my school life. As a keen sports player, you can imagine how excited I was to watch three talented Spanish girls join in Year 9 and play in our hockey teams. It was their skill and patience which transformed how our team was able to pass and trust each other with the ball. Before long were keen to show off our new skills competitively, both with our sticks and, also the new phrases we’d mastered tactically. By the end of the term we’d be shouting ‘passé me la bola’ down the length of the pitch, causing quite some confusion among the opposition. I was elated when we were awarded Team of the Year at Sports Dinner. That season was the first time we had been able to really connect as a team, which I believe was as a result of the trust initially observed with the Spanish girls that we were then over time able to adopt all together.
 
The friends I’ve made at Badminton have awakened in me an interest in the places they have come from. This has developed into a deeper curiosity of mine within the subject of Geography. Through discussions and podcasts within my lessons with Ms Morgan I have been inspired to look outwards at different people within their own cultures and environments as opposed to just meeting others within mine.  I’m intrigued by differences, either in how we live or in our surrounding landscapes. At GCSE, I was fascinated by a potting village we studied, located inside the informal Dharavi settlement of Mumbai. It was interesting to assess the drive from developers and local authorities to start again with better regulated high-rises, able to tackle issues regarding waste removal and water access most efficiently. I was, however, most intrigued by how much of the vibrancy and strength of community this seemed to overlook and put at risk. I knew Geography was a subject I needed to study at A level because I wanted to understand the complex range of factors that contribute to making a place what it is, in better detail.  I hope in the future to gain an even better understanding as I intend to go on to study Geography at university.
 
If I took anything from learning about Dharavi, it was that making decisions regarding the future of our urban environments is very complex; it requires a great deal of listening on all sides. That brings me back to folding those origami hearts in Year 6, the beginning of my learning through friendships, that when we make international connections and truly understand each other it is enriching for everyone and shapes perspectives. It seems to me that if we are going to succeed in working internationally to tackle current challenges including those facing our climate, then we will do so much more effectively if understand where each of us is coming from. At Badminton I’ve always had such positive experiences of what can be gained through coming together, and so going forward I am grateful that  these connections have given me a 'can-do' attitude as well as the confidence that is very possible to work collectively and achieve greater success.

Katie Clements Head Girl 2020-21

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