Jessica has received a conditional offer to study Psychology at Cambridge University.
Here’s what Jessica has to say about what she’s been up to since leaving YBA in 2012, and this exciting opportunity:
‘In Coleg Cambria I have been studying Law, Psychology and Sociology. I started my college experience by studying 4 A levels because that's what I thought I needed to do. In reality, 3 A levels were a lot better for me in terms of how much time and effort I could put into them; quality is always better than quantity. I am currently finding college hard work with a lot of assignments and extra reading that needs to be done but you have to put in the work in order to get anywhere. I also enjoy the social side and I have met most of my friends through college. If I could go back to school and choose what to study again I would pay more attention to what the course includes and consider how much I would enjoy studying it. That is the main difference with school because you have to enjoy the subjects you pick because of the amount of work that's required from you. There's no 'best friend' sitting next to you and its all new and even though this is a scary thought, you become independent and it sets the foundations for what your life will be like.
I am really excited by the conditional offer to study Psychology at Cambridge. I never considered it until I got my AS results and the college pushed me to apply. Getting a University offer in general is always nerve racking because you have to get the entry requirements in order to get in so you know that you must get the exam results and work hard. When I was in school I never thought about Uni or thought it was a real prospect but it becomes very real when you go to college. The process, even though nerve racking (especially when I went to the Cambridge Interview) was enjoyable and exciting. I studied Psychology at GCSE through Ysgol Bryn Alyn but you don't need to do this in order to do a Psychology A level which shows that there are many options available even if people haven't found a subject they really enjoy in school. I don't have any immediate plans for the future, I always focus on getting the results and then see where that takes me. I know that it will be in the field of Psychology but when I start my degree, I'll learn what i enjoy the most and go into a particular area.’
Ysgol Bryn Alyn is delighted to announce that Jamie Harrison (ex pupil 2007-2012) was nominated (by Wrexham Yale Rotary Club) and has been awarded a ‘Diana Champion Volunteer Award’. The Diana Award is presented to inspirational or socially active young people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others and their communities. Jamie, throughout his time at school, was instrumental in working with the International Committee and developing our strong global links, especially in India and America.
He was chosen by the ‘We to Me’ charity (one of 30 across the UK, and the only Welsh student) to volunteer in India - building a school, during the summer of 2013.
He gives his time with energy and enthusiasm and we are thrilled to know that he has been recognised in this way.
Jamie is the third Bryn Alyn student to be awarded A Diana Award. We are very proud of him.
Terri Ritchie, who is now 24, was selected as a Silver Ambassador whilst at YBA. Young Ambassadors are the most outstanding sports leaders in schools, selected due to their sporting talent and their exceptional commitment and ability as young leaders or volunteers. Terri is now a Gold Young Ambassador for Wrexham. Below, Terri explains her commitment and achievements:
‘When I heard that Glasgow was hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it brought back exciting memories from the London 2012 Olympics and so I immediately applied to become a volunteer for the games. I wanted to be part of sporting history and enjoy the atmosphere having been lucky enough to experience the Olympic Park in London! I also applied for numerous pairs of tickets as a back-up if I wasn't selected as a volunteer. Sadly, as a result of the high demand of applications for both volunteering and tickets, I wasn't selected for either, and so I was very disheartened. However, for the past four years I have been involved in the Young Ambassador Programme in Wrexham - a legacy from the 2012 Olympics - involving young people in sport. I started having been selected as a Silver Ambassador in YBA and now, due to me being a 'Gold Young Ambassador' for Wrexham, I was given the chance to apply to become part of the 'YA Media and Events team' for Glasgow 2014. I took up this opportunity and applied, resulting in me being successful due to my passion for the sport in the media.
With this, myself and other Young Ambassadors arrange sporting events in schools of all ages to promote the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. We promote it in the local media and social networks, with huge opportunities of interviewing 'Team Wales' athletes involved in the Games. I was incredibly happy with achieving this as it is another opportunity I have gained from being part of the 'Young Ambassador' scheme, and also an example of - if you try at something and it doesn't succeed then try and try again until it does - ''Dream Big" remember!! ‘
Arron Tye who is now 24, started working at the award winning ‘The Shared Olive’ restaurant in Hawarden, Flintshire as part of a government funded apprenticeship scheme from Coleg Cambria, Wrexham.
Aaron has recently competed for the title of “Best Chef in Flintshire” as part of the Mold Food Festival. The next tier of the competition is to be held this year and we wish Arron the best of luck!
Danny Burke, Head Chef, Co Owner and former Welsh National Chef of the Year said: “Since his arrival, Arron has gone from strength to strength adding even more quality to our team. We like to see our young team members do well especially in cooking competitions, it really helps individuals grow and develop into high quality professional chefs”.
I was a pupil at Bryn Alyn (2008-2013), so it’s been a while since I left, but I thought I’d fill you in on what’s been happening all these years later.
While I was at school, I had no idea what I wanted to be, who I was, or where my future would take me. That was until I selected Media Studies for my options in years 10 and 11 and I absolutely fell in love with it- that was all thanks to Miss Trevor and Mrs Nevitt.
Once my time at Bryn Alyn was over, I went to college to study A Levels in Film, English Language and (of course) Media Studies. My biggest challenge came after completing two years of college...university!
2016 saw the start of my BA in Broadcasting, Journalism and Media Communications. I have been presented with some amazing opportunities over the last three years. I got my first credit in a documentary for MadeTV, took part in a BBC Wales consumer show (X-Ray) and trained with BBC Academy on their Radio Operations course. I also got to follow my passion for writing and very quickly became an editor of the student magazine. Earlier this year, the magazine was awarded Most Improved Society and Best Collaboration& Contribution at the Students’ Union Awards.
During this summer, I was given press accreditation for two prestigious women’s tennis events in the country as a journalist/photographer. By doing this, I was scouted by Tennis Wales and recently completed some freelance work with them during the Welsh Championships and the Four Nations.
Last week, my degree finally came to an end as I received my results. I will be graduating with a first class degree this November. Something I never thought would have been possible when I was in school.
I have developed so much as a person since 2013. I would never class myself as a ‘success story,’ but I’ve come so far over the years. It just goes to show that anything is achievable regardless of who you are.
Bryn Alyn was the stepping stone into the big world of education, it set me up for some worthwhile experiences.
I thought it would be nice to let you know what I’ve been up to post Bryn Alyn. If any of the old teachers from 2013 are still there, please pass on my regards.
Hey! So I'm Ashley Mackay and I graduated in 2011. I went on to study English Lit, English Language and Sociology in College. I then took a year out to travel and work before attending Aberysytwyth Uni and graduating with a First class with Honors in Criminology with Applied Psychology BSc. Whilst doing my BSc I volunteered at Women's Aid, working with victims of domestic abuse. I took a year out after my degree and lived in Canada/worked as a TA with children with additional needs (which I absolutely loved and is a highlight of my journey). I'm currently back at it, in Glyndwr Uni finishing off my Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice, hoping to travel the world and work with the victims of various types of crime. I'm happy for anyone who's interested in the criminology sector/ working with victims to message me if they want any advice or info! My biggest advice for anyone wanting to further their education after college would be to take it at a pace that suits you! I know for a fact that if I hadn't taken gaps within my higher education journey to travel and experience all the amazing things I have - I wouldn't have been able to hack it nor would I be the person I am today. During both my gap years I grew as a person and met amazing people who taught me so much about life. So don't be disheartened if you take longer to reach your end goal, have some fun along the way and let your experiences help you to grow.
My name is Emma Watson and I left Bryn Alyn in 2011 with a goal of working in Environmental Conservation.
I have always wanted to study Zoology at university, but at GCSE level I only managed to get a grade C in Science and needed a B to study Biology at A-Level. Even though I loved Biology (thanks Mr Truman) and had a B grade, this was not enough. Undeterred, I paid to resist my GCSE science exams along with my AS-Level exams. Unfortunately, I got EXACTLY the same mark as the previous year, so I left college and worked for a few years in retail.
Whilst working as a Supervisor in Chester, I heard of an 'Access to Higher Education - Bioscience' course being offered at Coleg Cambria. With the opportunity to finally attend university, I quit my job and went back to college. A year later I passed my course and had offers from all of my chosen universities.
I chose Bangor University and studied Zoology with Conservation. I have always prefered the practical learning side of things and got to go on a field trip to South Africa seeing the Big 5 and in 3rd-year visited Uganda as a research assistant. I graduated in 2019 with a 2:1 and have since worked as a Warden on a protected nature reserve, am now a Community Project Officer and who knows what the future holds.
Basically, stick with your dreams and you will get there eventually!
I am Mike Jones or maybe better known as Mikey Bobble, I left Bryn Alyn in 1991. I was in the same form Class as Robbie Savage and Jim Whitley, I taught them how to play football correctly.
I have seen the post about what ex pupils are doing to amazing things.
I am now a Police officer in Greater Manchester Police, I have been since 2009, before that I was a PCSO for North Wales Police. Before that worked in the Civil Service.
When was at Bryn Alyn, I was known as one of the strange kids, had a small circle of friends. Academically did not do well, however I had a determination about me. I was always better with the practical side of life. Back in those days teachers were a bit more honest about what went in reports. I remember one comment in report from Mr Pillsbury saying “If Mike spent more time concentrating on this subject and less time entertaining the class with his own brand of humour, he may do something with his life”
Those words stuck with me, gave me the determination I needed. So take anything negative and be positive like I have proved someone wrong.
I always wanted to become a police officer as being a football referee, I always had a sense of fair play. I was one who liked helping people so police was the ideal occupation. I was always myself, so for students leaving moving on in life ALWAYS be yourself.
As a police officer in GMP I have done some fantastic things, I have done the usual, arrested people, protected people. Done all the sexy stuff like been in a riot, driven a vehicle fast on blue lights. I am currently now one of GMP’s lead planners for the Covid 19 operation, working to the Deputy chief constable and a superintendent. Helping the people of Manchester stay safe and help officers on the front line understand the current regulation and process.
I also work at Manchester United(I am not a fan) dealing with all crime related matters at the stadium on Match days plus work at Old Trafford cricket ground(I am a fan here) on international match days. Plus worked though the Manchester Bomb, Riots, I have laughed I have cried. I have seen death, saved a life, been at some major UK and world occasions.
But I have always been myself.
I get to help people every day, I feel like I genuinely make a difference I keep my humour, I still remember Bryn Alyn and speak of it fondly. So to the class of 2020, Stay safe, follow your dreams, keep going, work hard. Keep determined if you want it that bad, you will work hard to get it.
After leaving Ysgol Bryn Alyn in 2011, I went to Yale College to study A Levels in Geography, Maths and ICT. From there, I went to the University of Central Lancashire to study BA (Hons) Journalism, graduating with first class honours and an additional NCTJ Diploma at gold standard. I even went back to the University of Central Lancashire for a period to teach shorthand to undergraduate students.
I’ve worked in the media since I was 16. I started out with rugby league club North Wales Crusaders as Media Manager, looking after the website and social media accounts. I held that position until I graduated at the age of 21 and then took over the role of General Manager at Crusaders on a temporary basis, overseeing the day-to-day running of the club.
In late 2016, I was appointed National Team Media Manager at Wales Rugby League and I still hold that position now. Each autumn, I travel with Wales’ international rugby league team and manage the media operations. As well as overseeing the website and social media channels, I act as the main point of contact between the press and the team, arranging media opportunities and events. The highlight of my role so far is travelling to Australia and Papua New Guinea with the team for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Alongside my various roles with rugby league clubs, I have written on a freelance basis for many different newspapers and magazines since I was 16. For the past couple of years, I’ve had my own monthly column in Rugby League World magazine about the sport in Wales.
Since May 2018, I’ve been part of the Communication team at Cheshire West and Chester Council, working on strategic communication campaigns. In the last couple of months, I’ve been supporting the coordinated community response to COVID-19 in west Cheshire, putting together targeted communications so community groups and volunteers have the latest information and guidance to keep themselves and others safe.
Last year, I returned to Crusaders as Media Manager in a part-time role alongside my position at the Council.
I genuinely love what I do for a living and it hardly ever feels like work. What I’d say to people is find something you’re interested in and go for it. I don’t believe in luck – hard work and focus will get you to where you want to go.
After I left Ysgol Bryn Alyn, I went to Yale College to do my ‘A’ Levels. It took me four years (yes, really!) to get the subjects I wanted. All of my choices were in the same timetable ‘block’, so I could only choose one. I had two choices: to either go somewhere else, or try some other subjects. I wanted to study at Yale, so I plumped for the latter. For the first year I took a couple of GCSEs and one of my ‘A’ Level choices. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got to do all the ‘A’ Levels I had originally wanted, and went off to Cardiff University to study a BA(Hons) in Language & Communication.
After graduating in 1997, I joined the Welsh Office as a Publicity Officer. I was lucky enough to join just before the Welsh Devolution Referendum that lead to the creation of the Welsh Assembly. I got to help out with the media event that was televised. For someone straight out of Uni it was pretty exciting to be there watching journalists that I had only ever seen on television, like John Pienaar, and all the top Welsh politicians at the time.
After a year there, I realised that sitting at a desk for most of the day was not for me. I ended up moving back to Wrexham to join JD Wetherspoon as a Trainee Manager. This role meant that I moved around North Wales and Cheshire quite a bit. Every day was different, and there were always things to learn and new challenges. My favourite time of the year at Wetherspoons was Beer Festival time, as I got to look after the cellar with all the different casks. (it satisfied the slightly geeky side of me). I made some lifelong friends from that time. I spent three years with JDW, and started to get itchy feet. I moved to Tesco Stores as a Section Manager on nights, and was based in Wrexham. Another challenging, hectic and ever-changing role. I stayed with Tesco for ten years, but during that time I started my own business, which, almost fourteen years on, is still going strong.
So, I am now a full-time chocolatier, running my own small business, Aballu Artisan Chocolatier, and loving it (well, most of the time)!
I never expected to be working in the food industry. When I left YBA all those years ago, I wanted to work in advertising and media. But, the thing I always looked for in a career was variety. Running a business means that every day is different. It has also given me opportunities and experiences that I would never have had if I’d still been in my previous roles. I’ve exhibited at the biggest food and drink trade shows in the UK, I have met some famous people (mostly foodie ones, but Greg Wallace, Matthew Fort, Ellis Barrie, Jay Rayner, the Hairy Bikers…..), and some equally-amazing not-so-famous ones, who produce fantastic food and drink with drive, passion, innovation, and a dogged determination. During this time, we’ve won two Great Taste Awards, and I’m now an official Guinness World Record holder.
I’ve also been able to use the skills I’ve learnt to help my family raise funds for Dementia Friendly Wrexham, which funds art classes in Wrexham for people with memory loss. We did this by selling some of the 180 pieces of artwork that my Nanan had painted whilst she was living with dementia, I’ve turned some of this artwork into edible picture bars, and I give some of the profit from these to top up that fund. It’s lovely to be able to do something so personal. It’s become a bit of a cottage industry, and we have continued to sell the remaining paintings, and my Aunty has created a set of cards from some of the paintings that are being sold to raise funds for the Alzheimers Society.
Being a chocolatier isn’t just about pouring chocolate into moulds and wrapping them. We do a lot of product development, and work with companies to create bespoke products for them. We also have to create content for websites and social media, a bit of PR, food safety training, sales and marketing, copywriting, and design (logos, packaging, marketing material). And then there’s all the small business management stuff, like HR, accounts etc., which are my least favourite tasks. I have not had any formal training in chocolate-making or patisserie, so there’s been a lot of mistakes and trial-and-error along the way. That’s half the fun.
I’m a great believer in lifelong learning. Every day really is a school day! So, when I was at Yale, I did a couple of night classes (French and History GCSE), and later on I also did wine-tasting (!), Italian and a couple of short day courses on sales and marketing, events management, and social media. I also completed my PGCE in Lifelong Learning (2012), which took me back to Yale on a part-time basis. I now spend some of my time passing on my passion for enterprise and local food. I occasionally run workshops from our premises in the Wrexham area, I work with a couple of groups to promote local food and drink, such as Llangollen and Dee Valley Food & Drink (http://goodgrubclub.wales/) the Wrexham Local Action Group (independent group who ensure that grants and funding is given to Wrexham-based community projects), and the Llangollen Food Festival committee (https://www.llangollenfoodfestival.com/). Doing my PGCE also led me into being a Role Model for Big Ideas Wales (https://businesswales.gov.wales/bigideas/) . This means that I get to chat to lots of different groups of young people about enterprise and entrepreneurship. I’ve only been back to YBA once in the nine years that I have been a Role Model, and it felt strange and familiar all at the same time.
When I think of some of these things, I remember how shy and lacking in confidence I was when I was in school, and I can’t quite believe that I really do now enjoy these talks. I would have been a nervous wreck doing anything like this when I was a teenager! Last year, I started to do a few hours of one-to-one tuition, mainly in English, and I’ve found this to be incredibly rewarding. Again, I never thought I would be teaching.
As a Big Ideas Wales Role Model we’re encouraged to leave a group with one key piece of advice. I always have more than one, so here’s two for all those Year 11s out there:
Firstly, whatever you do in life, do something that you love. It will never feel like hard work if you have a passion for what you do.
And secondly, don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that come your way. Weigh them up, and consider whether they’re right for you, but don’t let your fears dictate what you do. I know I missed out on some things because I was frightened that I might get it wrong, or I might make a fool of myself. But, sometimes, you just have to go for it and take your chances! Although, in some ways, school wasn’t easy, my time at Ysgol Bryn Alyn gave me some life skills that have stood me in good stead, and I have some happy memories from there. I hope you all will, too. Good luck with what you do next.
After leaving YBA in 2013 I went on to study A levels in Maths, Psychology and Human Biology at Coleg Cambria. From there I completed my BSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Chester, I graduated in 2018 and got a job at a microbiology laboratory. In this job I have become a fully trained microbiologist, cell biologist and most recently virologist as we work hard to support our clients through the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as the lab work I have been lucky enough to represent my company at a variety of conferences worldwide, with my favourite being San Francisco!
It has been hard work getting to where I am but most importantly I’ve loved every minute :-)
I have attached a picture from my travels at the conference in San Francisco.
Holder of a number of UEFA badges in football and Futsal and currently working towards UEFA B badge.
Coached locally at Grassroots level with Brymbo Lodge were he has coached a large number of Boys and Girls from the School over the last 10 years.
Academy level followed as Kieran worked up the coaching Pyramid and clubs like Cefn Druids and Wrexham AFC came knocking.
He has also in the last couple of Years taking a post with the Football association of Wales (FAW). With this hes been lucky enough to rub shoulders with Ryan Giggs,Chris Coleman and Gareth Bale few to mention.
Back in 2019 with his FAW role Kieran revisited the school and took a group of 20 sports leaders in a play more football mentor work shop.
Hes been lucky enough to be a five time award winner within coaching. The most notable being his 2016 Welsh youth coach of the year award ( peoples award) presented to him by Ryan Giggs at Cardiff city stadium.
Id like to say that teachers such as Mr Randall and Mr Ransom had a effect on me and have helped become the person and coach Iam.
The old school saying " Nothing without effort " is something that sticks in my head. If you want something bad enough and put the effort in you can achieve it, you might get knock backs but keep going as everything is achievable if you want it bad enough.
I am former pupil of Ysgol Bryn Alyn (1997-2002). I graduated from Bangor University as a mature student in 2018 with a First Class Honours degree in Primary Education. I now work as a teacher in a local primary school. I hope this gives your year 11 the confidence to know that they can achieve anything they want to.
Graduated in 2014, Currently on a soccer scholarship in the United States at the University of Carson newman. Having completed my degree in Physical education and now i am going into my business masters this summer. Represented the schools football and cricket teams aswell as the county schools team. If any pupils would like to know anymore about soccer scholarships email me on @firstname.lastname@example.org