Students from Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy win once-in-a lifetime opportunity to campaign in the US

Four students from Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA), have won a nationwide competition which will see them fly across the Atlantic to take part in the US Presidential campaign.

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The competition ‘Inspire US 2016’, organised by The Transformation Trust, will send 20 sixth-formers to the US to be campaign interns for the final two weeks of the US elections.

OSSMA’s Bethan Atkinson, Nathan Jarvis, Adam Brammer and Korben Ward, at OSSMA won this chance after going through a rigorous application process which saw over 50 other schools enter.

The students will work in the key swing state of Florida alongside veteran political campaigners from the Republican and Democrat parties in the final two weeks leading up to the election on November 8th 2016. They will have the opportunity to canvass voters, attend rallies and visit Washington DC, the heart of the US political system, and home to the White House.

To reach the finals, students had to complete several tasks, including writing an essay and being interviewed. To round off their entry, OSSMA’s team came up with their own grassroots campaign idea, which they will implement next year. It will see benches put up along their school road, paying tribute to inspirational figures from Stoke-on-Trent.

The students have been working closely with Simon Pedley, an Oxford graduate and former Teach First teacher, who works as Access Champion for OAT. Simon advises students on the subject and exam choices most likely to lead to top universities, and encourages teachers to develop skills among children such as wider reading, discussion and debating. The appointment forms an integral part of OAT’s commitment to providing a wide range of enrichment opportunities to all its students.

The students spoke of their excitement.

Nathan Jarvis said:
“To receive such a reward as this trip is amazing and the fact I'll be able to have the experience with my friends is even better. The underdogs have risen!”

Bethan Atkinson said:
“I was ecstatic when I found out the news. I cannot wait to go to America and campaign with my friends. However I am also nervous!”

Adam Brammer said:
“Before we started the contest it felt more like a dream that we could win. Never did I personally expect to get past the first round never mind go on to win. It shows once again that anything is truly possible if you put the work into it.”

Korben Ward added:
“It's an unbelievable feeling, knowing that we are going to help out with such an amazing event. It just feels unreal. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity that not many people get and I am proud to be able to share this experience with some fantastic people.”

Matt Smart, Assistant Principal at OSSMA, said:
“This is such a fantastic opportunity for the students. They have put so much time and effort into their application, and they fully deserve their place on the trip.

“This will be a once in a lifetime experience for them. I have no doubt that the experience will change their outlook on life and set them firmly on the path to success in the future. Having spent time working with them closely I know they will put in the hard yards on the campaign trail, and I feel privileged to be able to share this with them.”

Mark Stanyer, Principal at OSSMA, said:
“We are all so proud of the students for doing such an amazing job throughout the competition. They have all worked ever so hard and we have been delighted to support them along the way.

“OSSMA, like all schools within Ormiston Academies Trust, is committed to ensuring our students gain not only a first-class education but also have access to opportunities such as this beyond the classroom so that they leave school with not only great academic achievements but key life skills.”