News & Events

Croydon High hosts the Chrystall Prize final 2024

March 15, 2024

On Thursday 7 March 2024, a Year 11 pupil from Blackheath High School, Nottingham High School, Notting Hill & Ealing High School, Shrewsbury High School and Wimbledon High School represented their school in the final of the prestigious GDST Chrystall Prize Award in the Holt Hall, with a number of VIP guests including our own Year 10 pupils. As they listened to the wholly inspiring speeches delivered by Year 11 pupils from five GDST schools, we hope they will be thinking about how they might be involved next year.

The esteemed Chrystall Prize competition brings together Year 11 pupils from across GDST schools to voice their opinions on the most prevalent debates in modern society. Set up in memory of former GDST Deputy Legal Secretary, Chrystall Carter, the competition holds extra meaning for the girls. Chrystall had a strong belief in the power of reasoned argument, and this competition provides a platform for girls to build confidence and have their voices heard.

This year’s judging panel included:

Dr Phil Purvis
Dr Purvis is currently Head of Educational Partnerships and Projects for the GDST. Previously, he was Head of Senior (Fulham School) and Deputy Head (Academic) and Head of Sixth Form (Croydon High School). A former Director of Music, Phil is a lover of the spoken and written word and is also a published author having edited two books Masculinity in Opera (2013) and Music & Camp (2013).

Jonathan Vickery
Mr Vickery retired from Croydon High School in 2019 after 30 years at the school, where he was a highly respected teacher of English and Government and Politics. Amongst many other achievements, Jonathan is credited with transforming debating and Model United Nations (MUN) at Croydon High School and was a great supporter of the Chrystall Prize competition.

Amelia Maher
Amelia works for leading London law firm, Sheridans; specialist lawyers in leisure, media, entertainment and technology. Prior to joining Sheridans, Amelia trained in-house at animation studio Aardman, gaining experience with a range of film, commercials and games production.

Amelia was a Senior Prefect leaving Croydon High School in 2011 for Exeter University to study History. After graduating, Amelia worked in a variety of roles including setting up her own record label, working as both a radio presenter and music journalist and at Apple’s advertising agency, Media Arts Lab, focusing on music licensing, legal clearance, and talent agreements.

Her musical talent was apparent from an early age, with Amelia actively involved in a number of school choirs as well as being an accomplished guitarist and memorably, acting as compere at the Sixth Form Fashion Show.

Katie Tomsett
Katie is a solicitor in the London office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, advising on international white-collar crime and regulatory investigations, internal investigations, and international disputes.

A Senior Prefect, Katie left Croydon High School in 2014, for the University of Oxford to read Human Sciences. After graduating, Katie trained at Gibson Dunn, spending a year seconded to the firm’s Hong Kong office. She is relocating soon to the firm’s Singapore office, where she will continue growing her practice and broadening her experience. Katie also has an active pro-bono practice, with a focus on the protection of endangered wildlife.

Katie herself represented Croydon High School in the Chrystall Prize competition of 2012 and was the recipient of the prestigious GDST Minerva Prize in 2014, for all-round achievement.

This year’s finalists and their chosen speeches included:

Evie-Rose B
Shrewsbury High School
For SEND children, ineffective management of funds is a bigger problem than the lack of funds available
Pola K
Wimbledon High School
Moral Evolution
Jaan W
Notting Hill & Ealing High School
Art: A necessity or luxury
Tallulah P
Blackheath High School
Social Media is undoing our society
Nitya P
Nottingham High School
The importance of positive representation of immigrants in the media

Each of the girls spoke with passion, flair and conviction but in the end it was Jaan W from Notting Hill & Ealing High School who walked away with the Chrystall Prize Award 2024 with her speech on whether art is a necessity or luxury. The judges praised Jaan’s ability for speaking without any notes or prompts, and for adeptly supporting her responses in the Q&A section with further research and relevant theory.