Scholar Alumna – Courtney King

Published: 1 Nov 2017 | Alumni

“Without Villiers Park I wouldn’t be the same person, I would still be sitting in the corner not talking to anybody, and definitely wouldn’t even be in university.”

Courtney graduated from the Hastings & Bexhill Scholars Programme in 2016. She is currently studying Music Composition and Technology for Films and Games at the University of Hertfordshire. Looking back, Courtney considers her journey to this point, and how Villiers Park not only inspired her to go to university, but helped her build the skills and confidence to thrive once there.

“I was originally born in Maidstone and grew up in a tiny village called Staplehurst in Kent. I am the youngest of five children that my mum raised as a single parent, until my stepdad came into my life when I was about 12, around the same time I moved to Hastings. Out of all my family I am the first one to go to university. My mother works as a carer for people with Prada-Willi syndrome and my stepdad is a bathroom installer.”

Before joining the programme, Courtney describes some of the difficulties she faced at school, especially having moved a number of times. “My experience at school was difficult as I hadn’t really made friends before I moved to Cornwall at the beginning of Year 9, so when I came back I didn’t really know anybody. Before I joined the programme I was very conserved, as I had only just learnt to make friends with people. I loved school and I loved learning, especially in music classes.”

Courtney found the Scholars Programme to be truly life-changing, “I can’t describe the emotional impact Villiers Park has had on me and how much it has opened me up and improved me as a person. As a student I’m now more confident in what I do. I can work well independently as well as in teams and I’m now not afraid to throw out ideas or to speak publically (before Villiers Park I was terrible). Without Villiers Park I genuinely believe I wouldn’t be where I am right now, studying for my dream career.”

Courtney also lends special thanks to her Learning Mentors, “I still struggled with Maths at the time and I remember my Villiers Park tutor, Alex, sitting with me going through Maths questions in Year 11 helping me out, and to this day I still believe he was the reason I got a B.”

As well as supporting her in her studies, Courtney’s Learning Mentors also helped her plan a route to university as she switched schools. “I applied for university in my first year of Sixth Form before I moved to a different college. Villiers Park definitely had a massive impact on this because when leaving secondary school I was still struggling to choose between art and music. They helped me find the right college and helped me make the right decisions.”

Now at university, Courtney is truly thriving and enjoying the experience, “My university experience so far has been surreal, in a good way. I am loving every minute of my lectures as I am so moved by everything my tutors speak about. Without Villiers Park teaching me communication skills I would have never become class Rep for my course in university, which I am now. I am hoping in my third year of university I get to study abroad in Japan for a year.”

Alongside her studies, Courtney also has an impressive number of hobbies and interests. “I find new things that interest me every day. My main hobbies would be that I love reading and drawing. As a musician I love playing the guitar, piano, bass and drums (I love to sing too).” As well as joining a number of societies at her university, including competitive Dodgeball, Courtney is also an avid gamer and lover of the fantasy genres, something which she hopes to take into her future career. “My plan for the future is to become a composer. I would love to write music for animation film companies like Disney or Dreamworks as I am a big kid at heart and love animation films. Hopefully in the future you will see my name in the credits on movies or video games.”

Now studying for her dream career, Courtney has these final remarks about her time with Villiers Park. “Villiers Park is worth every single penny that the trust rightfully earns. They have helped not only me but many other students from less fortunate backgrounds to get into university. For someone like me, who fell in love with their choice of university the moment they stepped onto its grounds, Villiers Park is worth so much more than money, as they literally pointed me in the direction of my dreams. So to the people that fund Villiers Park, I applaud you for giving me the best opportunity I’ve ever had in a life time and don’t stop now as many more students need this opportunity to become who they are.”