News & Events

Upper Sixth Sarena Wins the GDST Minerva Prize

Sixth Form Croydon High student Sarena is pictured at her iPad, she is the winner GDST Minerva Prize.

We were absolutely thrilled this week to hear that our outgoing Head Girl, Sarena, has been awarded the prestigious GDST Minerva Prize. Sarena, currently in Upper Sixth Form, has been a pupil at Croydon High since Nursery.

The Girls’ Day School Trust awards a number of high profile prizes and scholarships each year, including poetry, creative writing, public speaking, travel, classics and more. The highest accolade, in terms of prestige, is the Minerva Prize, which is awarded for overall achievement to an Upper Sixth Form student who embodies the true GDST spirit and ethos, exhibiting qualities such as creativity, innovation, perseverance, resilience, kindness and empathy.

Nominations for the Minerva are made by the individual schools, with sixth-form nominees completing a comprehensive application and then an interview with a panel of judges, including the GDST’s Chair of Trustees, Juliet Humphries, who said:

“As ever the standard of the shortlisted candidates for the Minerva Prize was extremely high and identifying an overall winner was difficult. The panel thoroughly enjoyed meeting Sarena and was extremely impressed with her many achievements, especially as they encompassed so many different and varied spheres.”

For her peers and teachers at Croydon High, there could be no more worthy recipient of the award than Sarena, who has been at the school from Nursery through to Sixth Form. Throughout her time here, she has consistently represented Croydon High with grace and has been an inspirational role model to us all. Over the last two years in Sixth Form, she has managed her studies and then her many and varied commitments as Head Girl with energy and enthusiasm, still finding time to excel academically and, we believe, stay on course to cap off her school career with a suitably excellent set of well-deserved grades. Her commitment to the co-curricular life of the school has been outstanding. For example in 2020, after Sarena was awarded the GDST Chrystall Carter public speaking prize for her speech on the topic of Racial Diversity, she decided to set up a public speaking club to assist others in preparing for the speaking element of their English GCSE. The theme of mentoring and supporting younger pupils is one that has run through Sarena’s time at Croydon High. During lockdown, noticing the impact of isolation on mental health, she took the initiative to set up a forum called ‘Let’s meet’ to allow students in lower years to informally voice any concerns they had.

On hearing the news of her award, Sarena said:

“I was delighted and honoured to have been put forward for the award and I could not quite believe it when I found out I had won.  I have no doubt Croydon High has been instrumental in making me the person I am today and so to receive this award on my last day at the school definitely added to the achievement. I hope that I can continue to live up to our school motto… ‘May her character and talents inspire others’.”

Congratulations Sarena – making us proud until the very end of your time at Croydon High and, no doubt, beyond.

Mrs Cook

Director of Philanthropy and External Relations

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