A STAR student will be sharing a virtual classroom with some of the brightest young brains from around the world on a leading American university’s summer programme.
Quinn Doherty, a year 12 pupil at Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno, has spoken of his pride after winning a coveted place on the Yale Young Global Scholars scheme.
The cosmopolitan academic enrichment programme brings together leading high school students from across the globe to study and interact with each other.
In normal circumstances Quinn, 16, would have enjoyed a trip to the United States for two weeks in July at the prestigious Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
But restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic mean the Oxbridge hopeful will instead spend the experience at his home in Llandudno, engaging with fellow students online.
Although Quinn has described earning a place on the scheme but being unable to physically go to America as “bittersweet”, he is excited by the opportunities the programme provides and the attempts leaders are making to ensure it is as close to the real thing as possible.
“Initially it was disappointing to know that I would be missing out on a trip to America,” said Quinn, who has yet to set foot in the United States after a planned family holiday to New York last year was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“But I’m not really thinking about that now, I’m just really looking forward to it.
“It would have been cool to go there, but from what I’ve read the way they do it works a lot better than you would think.
“It is not just Zoom meetings with a few people, but a chance to properly connect with them and get to know them.
“Although it is going to be two weeks spent on the laptop, from what people say it is really just like being in America. I look forward to actually going there one day.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity. I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded people from around the world and taking part in a really exciting course.”
Quinn’s acceptance onto the Literature and Philosophy course at Yale has capped a glorious 12 months for him academically.
He topped the class at Ysgol John Bright in his GCSEs last summer, obtaining a stunning 12 A* grades and an A.
Currently in his first year in sixth form, Quinn is studying towards A-levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics.
He is setting his sights on going to Oxford University to study Mathematics and Philosophy.
But his academic excellence did not guarantee he would be one of the lucky few to earn a spot on the Yale programme, having endured an anxious wait to discover his fate after an extensive application process.
“It was all online. I was waiting for an email and because it was done on American time it didn’t arrive until late in the evening,” said Quinn, whose sister, Roisin, is a year 13 student at Ysgol John Bright.
“It was very nerve-racking, but when I opened the email there were virtual fireworks going off and I knew that I had been accepted.
“It was a very happy moment for me.”
Quinn’s participation on the course has been made possible thanks to the Seren Network, which supports state school and further education students on their pathway to university.
A co-funded scholarship arrangement between the Welsh Government and Yale Young Global Scholars will cover the costs of Quinn’s participation, which is expected to be in excess of £3,000.
He will be following in the footsteps of the school’s head boy, James Goodrich, who was accepted onto the programme last year and has shared his experiences with Quinn.
“There has been a lot of support from the school and I am very grateful for that,” said Quinn.
“We have a really good sixth form at Ysgol John Bright and there is a very good culture here.
“James Goodrich talked about what this involved and that led to me becoming interested in taking part.
“I am also really grateful for the sponsorship I have received thanks to the Welsh Government and Seren, which is making it possible that I can take part.”
Hywel Parry, deputy headteacher at Ysgol John Bright, has expressed his congratulations to Quinn and conveyed the school’s delight at seeing him accepted onto the scheme.
He said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Quinn, to stand out among an international field to attain a place on such a prestigious programme.
“It is a testament to his hard work and diligent attitude to his studies here at Ysgol John Bright.”