Hearts of TGS - June 2021
Megan Class of 2018
When were you at TGS (your dates or which era)?
What are you doing now?
I'm a graduate software engineer at Arm, so as part of my job I help create and maintain simulations of our semiconductors that are shipped around the world and are in 90% of mobile phones worldwide!
Give a brief summary of how you got to what you are doing now.
After my IB (HL computer science, maths and physics) I completed a degree apprenticeship with Arm. This means I worked 4 days a week with the company and studied for my degree alongside – obviously this was quite busy but the whole experience (and the free tuition fees) is worth it!
Is there something from TGS that continues to play an important role in your everyday life?
So much! My TGS friends are some of my favourite people in the world and definitely are an important part of my life but also all the things we learnt along the way are a huge influence on my career. Having sessions on resilience, mindfulness and mental health awareness have definitely helped me out since leaving school and have helped me be more aware and a lot kinder to my body. The career route I chose, as an apprentice, made stress and burn out ever present risks for me especially when changes in my home life made productivity difficult, however, having spent time at TGS helping signpost for others meant that I knew how to support myself more and get support from my team at work and the university when I needed it. On top of that, being a woman in computing brings its own challenges but having so much support at TGS (and a lot of high expectations) helped me take the first step in my career and is always a good reminder to help me believe in my own abilities when things get tough.
What is it about TGS that prepared you for adult life?
In terms of practical skills, the IB definitely helped my time management and report writing skills for the university part of my apprenticeship. Outside of studying, as I mentioned, the resilience and emotional intelligence I gained at school has helped me navigate some of the rockier parts of the job. Unfortunately, the computing disciplines are still somewhat behind, in terms of a diverse workforce, so I'll often find myself being the only woman in the room during meetings. Because of this, I've struggled with imposter syndrome at work and to start with I regularly considered quitting because I thought I'd made the wrong choice. However, the skills I'd acquired from TGS, particularly resilience and knowing where to ask for help have helped me get back on track and back to feeling part of the team. Now, not only am I loving programming again, I'm also part of the Diversity and Inclusion group in my department and have helped write the guidance for hiring managers on how to make sure we are advertising, interviewing and hiring fairly so that more minority groups are given equal opportunity.
What do you think is special about the TGS community?
Definitely the enthusiasm, support and caring that everyone has! During my school years, I was always surprised when my friends from other schools said that they wouldn't go to a teacher if they were stuck, or if they did they wouldn't receive much support. This astonished me because teachers / staff at TGS were always supportive of us asking questions, both in and out of lessons, and were super enthusiastic when we came to them with projects we wanted to do, even if they'd have to take time out of lunch to help us, such as with the Flight Simulator, our attempt at making a braille e-reader for a CREST award and when we learnt to use a lighting deck for the textiles showcase.
What was your favourite moment at TGS?
There were so many it's hard to pick just one. I think the Year 13 prom would have to be my favourite just because we looked back at so many memories – even though we did end up watching England in the men's World Cup quarter finals during the dinner!
What do you think makes TGS different?
The genuine care and enthusiasm for other people's success. It's great to hear how everyone is getting on and to know that other's care about how I'm doing too!
How has TGS Shaped your values and aspirations?
TGS has definitely helped me raise my personal aspirations and has massively shaped my values in life. “Courage and Honour” is definitely a value that I experienced throughout my school years and in particular, the phase “with purpose and dignity” has stuck with me. I know the phase was originally mentioned in response to “how to walk in heels” but I think it definitely applies to a lot of aspects in life.
What would you say to someone considering TGS?
Go for it! TGS is a fabulous place to be. You will definitely work hard, particularly in sixth form, and learn masses along the way but you will also find yourself a family who will support and encourage you along the way (even once you start your career after school).
What would you say to a Year 7?
Keep on top of your deadlines! Otherwise, enjoy every moment and make the most of all the opportunities that come your way, even if they are new or a little daunting at the time. Just get stuck in and make lots of memories because, although it is very clichéd, it will fly by and before you know it you'll be dancing at prom and remembering all the best moments!
Heart of TGS - June 2021
Stef class of 2018
No question, TGS has shaped me into the person I am today! I am just about to start my dream job in property, and it is thanks to TGS that I felt confident enough to go for it!
I studied at TGS from 2011-18, and you wouldn't believe the transformation from myself as a year 7, (very small and unbelievably shy) to the women who left TGS, 17 years old, ready to go travelling for a month, then start university that September. I graduate from the University of Birmingham this July (2021), with a Bachelors Degree in Human Geography, and will be beginning a graduate programme in housebuilding and property development this October! I am so excited for this new chapter in my life, and the chance to begin my career in property!
Undoubtedly, TGS has played a huge role in my personal development, and it has continuously inspired me to push to be the best version of myself. During my education, I was always encouraged to take initiative, learn and make mistakes for myself. Within the supportive and inclusive community at TGS, no one slips behind. My teachers consistently went above and beyond to foster my learning and academic development, and it is this kind of support, unique to TGS, that has prepared me for adult life. I have the strongest foundations in my education at TGS, a list of fantastic academic and extracurricular achievements.
Choosing to study for the International Baccalaureate, and my final 2 years in Sixth From at TGS, were by far the best moments and memories of my 7 years at TGS. I didn't realise that I was restricting myself and begun to believe I couldn't achieve what I wanted to, in terms of academic achievements, personal development, and in the long-term, my career. However, throughout the course of my time at TGS, and upon completing the IB, I realised that the only limits we have are the ones we set for ourselves, and that anything is possible! I extend the deepest gratitude to all my teachers and personal tutors at TGS, for their role in my development. For any prospective students out there, I can vouch that TGS is a fantastic place to be. I have made lifelong friendships, reinvented my outlook on my own life, and unlocked a new level of commitment and determination. I cannot wait to see where the future takes me!
All the best to everyone out there!
Hearts of TGS - June 2021
Blythe Day class of 2011
I was a pupil at TGS from 2004 to 2011 and since then, I've been lucky to have had jobs in very different organisations and doing very different things. To be honest, I probably should have expected this - as I have always had quite broad interests (everyone always commented on what an unusual combination my A Level subjects of German, Economics, ICT and Religious Studies were...) but it's quite striking to think how much my time at TGS has really influenced where I am now.
I was really involved with outreach and volunteering at TGS, particularly with teaching ICT skills (Mrs Twinam and Mrs Ghali will both always have a big place in my heart! What legends.) I definitely believe this has been the most impactful experience I've taken from TGS into adult life. I loved the subjects I studied at school (most days), but it was what sat in the space between lessons that I remember with the most clarity and fondness. TGS Radio! Taking the Maths Challenge to Finland, teaching French and Maths skills to young people with additional needs (and I didn't speak French so I'm not convinced I was teaching it right...) and ICT skills to people of all different ages. And all throughout my first degree (MA German and Scandinavian Studies at University of Edinburgh) I found that it was the societies, volunteering and projects that I was involved with outside of my course that I was really passionate about and led me into a fantastic job supporting the international student experience in Edinburgh right after graduating. I don't doubt that this stems from my love of all things outreach at TGS.
Now, ten year's on from leaving TGS, I look down my CV and realise how all of my favourite jobs have encompassed an aspect of impacting communities and an aspect of technology. Developing new databases to match up visiting exchange students with buddies in Edinburgh (and then a spin-off project in China at Peking University!), running a women's project in deprived areas of East Newcastle, incorporating tap-to-donate fundraising at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's books, learning to code through a free course by CodeFirstGirls while I studied my masters at Newcastle University - and even a brief period working at BT on their technology graduate scheme!
You'll now find me working as a fundraiser at Edinburgh Science - we run an annual Science Festival and a whole range of projects across Scotland to get young people inspired by science, technology, engineering and maths. It's a perfect combination for me: it's an amazing charity, making real impact but with a fun and silly personality, with science threaded through everything by stealth. I get to build relationships with partners who are passionate about STEM skills in all kinds of different ways, and work on brilliant projects - many of which incorporate technology somehow. For example, I'm in the final stages of leading a project to provide a new way for people to learn more about our charitable work and donate to support our charity, all through an online web app!
So for me, my time at TGS really taught me to see the bigger picture. I looked outside the classroom and it's there that I developed the interests and skills that still play such a bit part in my everyday life now. Don't get me wrong, the lessons and subjects were important and interesting and definitely shaped my career and interests too, but I do think that a full and well-rounded school experience like the one I had at TGS has really led to the full and well-rounded life I have now.
Hearts of TGS - June 2021
Chibudom Onourah class of 2017
My name is Chibudom Onuorah; I was at TGS sixth form from 2015-2017. I am currently in my final weeks of the BSc Computer Science degree at University of Warwick. I will be starting my graduate role at J.P Morgan Chase & Co this September (2021), after having completed software engineering internships at Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered Bank, and Google. My Computer Science lessons at TGS played an important part in my life, as it allowed me to further my understanding and interest in the subject area. I would also like to thank Mrs Ghali for her support during my time at TGS; Mrs Ghali arranged an internship for me during my first few months at TGS and she also directed me to a scholarship that has been of immense financial support throughout my time at university.
Hearts of TGS - June 2021
Dorothy Gant nee Bibby class of 1953
My computer is driving me mad! It won't go into a file for me to send you, so I'm just going to have to number my answers in the order that you've written them below.
Please don't feel you have to use these answers as I've written them, as I'm not very good at expressing what I intend. Please change, or leave out, anything you like. I've numbered them in the order they were written.
1. I was at Tonbridge Girls' Grammar School from September 1945 to February 1953.
2. I'm retired.
3. I went to Bristol University from September 1953 to June 1958 to get a Degree in Maths plus a Teacher Certificate. I taught Maths at Selhurst Grammar, Wimbledon Grammar, Reigate Grammar and finally at Sutton
4. I enjoy going to the Annual + TGS meetings when I can and meeting those I knew in the School and are also able to come sometimes.
5. I particularly remember Miss Arnold and all she did as Headmistress. She was very good and helpful and understanding.
6. I especially enjoyed Cricket and Tennis and other Games as well.
7. Everyone's welcome, even though we may not know many people.
8. As well as my parents ensuring that I behaved well, I was also expected to behave well and do the right things at TGGS .
9. It was, and still is, an excellent School, with very good Staff.
10. Whatever they suggest you do when you leave TGS, certainly consider it seriously.