Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate: A glimpse into the life of a thriving student
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Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate: A glimpse into the life of a thriving student

Fiji-born Ruci was only 10 years old when she first joined boarding school. With a father in the armed forces, it was crucial to find an institution that could provide a secure environment for her educational journey.

It was then that she found Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate (QE) in York, England. Its facilities stood out to her immediately — with tranquil gardens and sculptures and a dedicated Sports Village complete with a sauna, steam rooms, and jacuzzi. The Muggles activity centre is just as exciting, with an indoor lounge area, 3D cinema, go-cart track, and trampolines. “I had no doubt that it would be a fun experience,” she shares. 

Ruci remembers feeling anxious, scared and nervous on her first day. “I sat at the back of my classroom and was very shy — I did not even give back a verbal response when the register was being taken, I just raised my hand and nodded,” she recalls. “My initial challenge was getting familiar with the campus, but everyone was really welcoming and had no problem helping the newcomers out.”

Slowly, Ruci began to come out of her shell. Her fellow boarding students always invited her to play tag around campus after classes. They reassured her that it was perfectly acceptable to make a mistake in class, as everyone was there to learn. With time, QE became more of a second home to her. Today, she’s a proud Head Girl. 

Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate offers a warm, welcoming environment for every student. Source: Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

Much of this has to do with it being the institution where she found her “life’s calling.” “I initially came to QE with a dream of becoming an archaeologist,” she shares. “I ended up discovering a passion for sports — the adrenaline, the atmosphere and the whole team spirit.”

Sports are a large part of life at QE. It hosts a dedicated Sports Village, home to a 25-metre swimming pool, a triple-court sports hall, a four-lane synthetic cushioned running track, and more than 30 acres of grass and 3G artificial pitches. Students can pursue sporting activities after school or through various Performance Sport Pathway (PSP) programmes, which Ruci — and her fellow Head Boy Sebastian — opted for. 

“QE allows for sports to be taken as an extra subject area with the PSP,” the Head Boy explains. “I feel this has been a major contributor to my rugby development, as well as my academic side, as it has given me an opportunity to be in a classroom doing business work one minute, and then the next minute being out on the field training.”

Sebastian hopes to pursue rugby as a professional — a passion he’d only discovered as a student at QE. “I never really had a particular hobby or area that I was very good at and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” says Sebastian. “But after trying every sport and activity in my first few weeks, I found a passion for rugby, and it has been my ambition to become a professional ever since. I have received so much support in aid of this and feel as though, with the help of our outstanding coaches and world-class facilities, this has become a very real possibility for me.”

With a large variety of facilities, students at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate can pursue their passions without limits. Source: Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate

For Sebastian, having an ex-professional rugby player as the Head of Sport was a major influence. “Mr. Rawlinson [the Head of Sport] has provided me with some great sessions on the field as well as some important life lessons off it,” he shares. “I’m also very fond of Mr. Hampshire, my PE teacher. He has a passion for sport which has further expanded my own, and his lessons are very engaging and interesting.”

Outside of their sporting ventures, both students are extremely active in building a warm and safe community at school. Ruci is a prefect, peer mentor and equity ambassador. “As an equity ambassador, I work with other students to bring different cultural communities in our school together and give them the space to feel proud of where they come from,” she shares. “Other students can also expand their knowledge of different countries and their traditions. It’s important to us that every student feels heard, especially being in a multicultural school.”

Of course, there’s plenty of time to relax and catch up with friends, as well. During colder seasons, Ruci and her friends take up a game at the sports hall or watch a movie at Muggles. Sebastian likes to use sports as a pathway to meet and spend time with different people — cricket, for example, allows him to play with many students from a range of age groups. 

Sebastian is on track to realising his dreams as a rugby player. Ruci, with help from the careers department, narrowed down her future areas of study to either sport psychology or physiotherapy. Both Head Boy and Girl are confident of where their futures will take them — and are ready to face their next stages of life with grit and determination. 

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