We always enjoy hearing from former students and will publish news of their achievements in our regular e-newsletter.
Are you an ex student of The Burgess Hill Academy? Would you like to support the school or share your work skills with students?
We are often looking for people to come in and inspire our young people at a variety of events. A number of alumni supported our Year 10 Career Insight week and our students found speaking to people who were "in their shoes" just a few years ago invaluable. If you would be interested in taking part in events like this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send your stories to the Editor for inclusion. We look forward to hearing from you.
Please join our community by linking us to your education status on LinkedIn.
- Beth Reszke
- Charlotte Sullivan
- Christopher Traylen
- Emily Maddock
- Luke Fuller
- Liam Maddin
- Nicola Steele
- Oliver Thring
- Rebecca Smith
- December Payne
The college always likes to hear from former students and discover what they are doing later in life. A recent alumni story comes from Beth Reszke who left Oakmeeds in 2009...
“Since March last year I have been working for kids activity company PGL and have been stationed at three different centres: Chateau de Grande Romaine near Paris, Lochranza on the Scottish Isle of Arran and, currently, Le Pre Catelan near Boulogne.
While working at the last, I began to recall a Year 8 MFL trip to France; where we stayed was close to where I am living now and many of the excursions we did back then are almost the same as those we offer to our kids: the chocolate factory, Bagatelle Theme Park, Nausicaa Sea Life Centre, Le Touquet market, etc).
The centre we stayed at was also located with sand dunes behind it, similar to Le Pre Catelan, Hardelot which is next to dunes; it must have been very close to where I’m currently living. I remember Mr Potten, Mrs Reynolds and Mrs Worthington were on the trip.
I had a brilliant experience during my time at Oakmeeds and would like to thank my teachers for all they’ve done to help me excel and get me to the position I am in now, as a senior administator at Le Pre Catelan and using my French skills on a daily basis."
Beth is pictured above abseiling of a cliff at Lochranza and in Boulogne (right).
We look forward to receiving more stories from former students about what they're doing in adult life.
I left Oakmeeds in 2011 and went on to BHASVIC to study Archaeology, Chemistry and Physics. Whilst at school I joined the Air Cadets and was lucky enough to get some flying time through them. I also held a part time Job at Tesco from 2011 until 2017.
With my cadets background, solid GCSE's and three A Levels I enrolled at Bucks New University on their BSc(Hons) Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training degree. After three and a half years I left university with a First Class honours and a Frozen Air Transport Pilot's Licence. Three months after graduating I had an assessment with EasyJet and was offered a position! Once another three months of EasyJet specific training was completed and I was Type Rated on the Airbus 320 family of aircraft I moved to Edinburgh to begin my career as an Airline Pilot. I could not have got here without the incredible support of my teachers; namely Mrs Frean and Mr Taylor, who both taught me in different ways that I could achieve anything I put my mind to, and to never let anybody tell me I couldn't.
Congratulations to Christopher Traylen who has just achieved his PhD in Biochemistry from Sussex University.
Christopher was a student at Oakmeeds from 1999 to 2004. He then studied at BHASVIC for two years before going The University of the West of England in Bristol where he graduated with a first class honours in Bio Medical Science. During his 4 years in Bristol he went to America (North Carolina) in 2010 to work in Greenville Hospital as part of his degree.
Emily Maddock was a student at the school until 2014 when she left to study at Art, Textiles and Psychology at BHASVIC. After completing her A Levels, Emily had taken up an apprenticeship in Business and Administration at Mid Sussex District Council where she is currently working in the Communications Team and attending college in order to gain her NVQ qualification.
Emily is raising money for St Catherine's Hospice, who provide end of life care and support for terminally ill people and their families locally, by trekking along a remote section of the Great Wall of China next year. As well as the trek, she will be undertaking lots of other fundraising activities in order to hit her fundraising target of £3,300.
Updates from Emily will be posted during her trek at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EmilyMaddock where there is information on how to donate.
Luke studied at Oakmeeds from 2006 to 2011, during which he represented England in an international karate tournament. After leaving Oakmeeds he went to St. Paul's Sixth Form where he studied the three sciences and maths. In 2013 he joined the University of Portsmouth where he graduated with a first class honours in Applied Physics in 2016. Luke used his passion for science and education to get onto a PGCE course at the University of Exeter. He will graduate from there in 2017 before becoming a secondary science teacher.
We were delighted to hear from Luke. We would love to hear from any other ex-students with news about their success to include here, please contact email@example.com
We are delighted to hear from a budding actor who's already featured in the opening ceremony of London 2012 and is off to universtiy to study acting. Liam Maddin takes up his story...
"I've always been a keen drama student and this desire to succeed in the arts was nurtured at Oakmeeds by Mr. Steer who challenged and pushed me at all times. Taking GCSE Drama was certainly the course which propelled me into further education.
I left the college in 2009 and went on to study Performing Arts, Dance and Communication & Culture at Central Sussex. I also joined Sussex Actors Studio in which I had workshops with various industry professionals (Thomasina Unsworth, Tom Mothersdale). To my mind, Sussex Actors Studio is a must if you want a career in the arts!
I performed at the Victoria Palace for the fifth anniversary of Billy Elliot, shortly after I secured my first professional job at Thorpe Park for the Halloween season in 2011, and directed a play the following spring. I was selected to be a performer at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony: my greatest achievement so far.
With a place at Bath Spa University, I'll be off to study a BA in Acting for three years. I would not have these credits to my name if I didn't study GCSE Drama."
My name is Nicola Steele, I studied at Oakmeeds from 2002 to 2007 and have some fond memories of the place!
After leaving Oakmeeds. I went to Varndean College where I studied Fine Art, Media Studies, Textiles and Graphic Design for my A Levels. I then completed my Art Foundation Diploma at City College in Brighton and got my Degree in Design Crafts at De Montfort University, where I was taught to blow glass. I was asked to exhibit my Degree show work at New Designers in 2013 which lead to a job offer at Adam Aaronson Glass Studio in Surrey, where I worked as a Glassmaker's assistant from 2013 to 2016. One of the major projects I have been involved with is 'New Dawn' by Mary Branson, which is a permanent installation situated in Westminster Hall commemorating the Suffrage movement.
I now work as a PA to the Managing Director of a fine art Publishers, which has given me opportunities to work directly with well-known artists such as Sir Peter Blake and Gavin Turk.
I'm really grateful to my teachers at Oakmeeds for giving me the confidence I needed to achieve what I have. In particular, Mr Snape, Mrs Bishop and Ms Gilbert. I never thought I was clever enough to go to University or get involved in such massive projects, and if it wasn't for Ms Gilbert in particular, I might have never taken an A Level in Textiles/Mixed Media and got into my craft-based degree course at University which really paved the way for me.
My name is Oliver Thring, I left Oakmeeds in 2015 for Central Sussex Sixth Form. After completing my A-levels in History, Photography and Media, I am now studying a BA in History at the University of Sussex.
In July 2018, I will be taking part in a student bike ride from London to Paris in aid of Breast Cancer Now. Breast Cancer Now is currently the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, and one that aims to find a cure for everyone that develops this horrible disease by 2050. In addition to cycling from London to Paris, I will doing group fundraising and cycling events with the university, in the lead up to the event.
It is my aim to raise £1,100 for this amazing charity. No matter how big, or how small the donation, any amount donated to my EverydayHero page would be greatly appreciated.
View Oliver's pregress and donate at EverydayHero
The College enjoys hearing from former students. A recent alumni story comes from Rebecca Smith who left Oakmeeds in 2010...
Rebecca had always wanted to be a Paramedic and attended St. John Ambulance from the age of 7. From Oakmeeds, Rebecca went to Lewes College for two years and took the Public Services course, achieving three A levels. She also worked part time and paid for her own driving lessons and bought herself a car.
When she left college Rebecca continued full time in her job until South Central Ambulance Service were advertising for an Emergency Care Assistant. Rebecca funded a week’s crash course on learning to drive an ambulance and passed her driving and theory test. She got the job and moved a year ago to Milton Keynes, where she is working very hard and loves her role. Rebecca drives the Ambulances on blues and twos and also treats her casualties.
In December 2013 West Midlands Ambulance Service advertised for a Student Paramedic. Rebecca applied, went through the interview process and has got a placement. The course and job start i April 2014 and after 30 months, if she passes, she will be a fully qualified Paramedic at the age of just 22.
Congratulations on your achievements so far Rebecca. Oakmeeds wish you all the very best in your new role as Student Paramedic.
We look forward to receiving more stories from former students about what they're doing in adult life.
I left Oakmeeds in 2012 and went on to BHASVIC to study Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Theatre Studies. After that, I went on to study Medicine at the University of Southampton, undertaking their 6 year widening access program. Studying medicine was an amazing experience, and I even got to visit Malawi to undertake some volunteer work before graduating!
In 2020, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, I graduated as a doctor. It has been a difficult year for everyone, and I have been truly humbled by my experiences whilst working during the pandemic. We still found a way to celebrate it with a mini ceremony in the back garden! I now work in a hospital in Devon, and really enjoy my job, as well as the beautiful countryside. I would encourage anyone interested in medicine to pursue it as a career - it has been hard work, but incredibly rewarding.
My fondest memories of Oakmeeds were the productions put on by Mrs Frean and Mr Wood - in particular We Will Rock You! I use the interpersonal skills learnt through performing arts every day in my role as a doctor, and am extremely grateful for the confidence those experiences gave me.