Students at OSSMA in the running for once-in-a life-time opportunity

Four students from Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA) are through to the next round of a nationwide competition which could 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 see 20 sixth-formers from five different schools travel to the US to be campaign interns for the final two weeks of the US elections.

Bethan Atkinson, Nathan Jarvis, Adam Brammer and Korben Ward, who all attend Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA), in Stoke-on-Trent, made it to this stage after going through a rigorous application process.

They have been working closely with Simon Pedley, an Oxford graduate and former Teach First teacher, who works as university access Champion for Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), OSSMA's sponsor. Simon advises students on the subject and exam choices most likely to lead to Oxbridge and Russell Group 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.

If successful, 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.

As part of the competition the four students have created a video explaining why they should be the ones to win this chance as well as who their Presidential and Vice Presidential picks would be. They also submitted a written proposal for an active citizenship project in their hometown and had to decide on an executive order they would implement if they were to be President.

The next stage will be an interview on the 8th of June.

Simon Pedley, Access and Gifted & Talented Champion at OAT said:

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the students. They are interested, engaged, intelligent and witty.

"I have every confidence in them from here, but to have even made such a demanding application is impressive. We all wish them the best of luck."

Nia Salt, Vice Principal at Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy, said:

"We are all so proud of the students for doing such an amazing job in the competition thus far. They have worked ever so hard and we have been delighted to support them along the way.

"OSSMA, like all schools within the OAT family, 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."