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Sixth Form Q&A with Grace Olding

How long have you been at Millfield?

It all began in 2012 when I joined Millfield Pre-Prep at the age of 6. I have now reached the end of Upper Sixth, having been at Millfield for 12 action-packed years.

What do you think makes Millfield so unique?

Millfield is unique because it doesn’t excel in just one area, it excels in everything. Millfield is known predominantly for its sport but students at the school also thrive in the arts and academia. You can take part in all aspects of the school, receiving world class tuition in incredible facilities alongside very talented people. Each department is well developed, and they each have great success, achieving amazing things whether that be in sport, music, drama or academic studies, students at Millfield including myself have access to everything and are able to take part in as much as possible.

What do you most love about the school?

The thing I love most about Millfield is its natural beauty. The campus is so pretty and a lovely place to be. I love seeing all the different flowers in bloom, whether it be the daisies, the tulips, the magnolia or blossom tree, it’s always full of colour giving it a wonderful joyous character. Walking through school I often listen to the blackbirds and occasionally I’ll hear the green woodpecker. It’s a kind and welcoming place with both staff and students saying hello when walking by.

What have you participated in during your time at Millfield?

Throughout my time at Millfield, I have definitely made the most of the opportunities. I have taken part in so many sports, competing at national level in swimming, biathlon, hockey, netball and athletics. As well as this I have been a part of many bands, orchestras, choirs, and chamber ensembles as well as performing as a soloist. During my time at the senior school, I explored opportunities in the outdoor education programme and have completed my bronze, silver and gold DofE, in addition to Ten Tors training, caving, paddle boarding, and coasteering.

Once you finish at Millfield what profession are you looking to get into?

After Millfield, I will pursue my passion for music, studying Flute at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in London. I hope to become a professional flautist and be part of a world where I can share my love of music through performing, whether that be as an orchestral player or as a soloist. I want to inspire people to follow their passion and do what they love! I am very excited to have my own recital in July where I will open the Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival for the 61st year. Having a hobby as a job hasn’t quite sunk in yet and I can’t quite believe it’s true!

For anyone looking to join the school, what advice would you give?

Having been at Millfield for 12 years my piece of advice would be to grab every opportunity the school gives you. Whether it be trying a new sport, instrument, speaking in assembly, going abroad on a school trip or indeed navigating your way across Dartmoor, just do it. By saying yes to all the opportunities Millfield gives you, you will learn invaluable experience and skills, even if you don’t realise it at the time. You will learn to be resilient and persevere when things get tricky, you will learn that organisation is a starting point to success, but most of all, I guarantee you will have so much fun and meet some amazing people who will share these experiences with you and join you in making memories. Millfield’s opportunities have allowed me to become the person I am today. At Millfield Prep I was a competitive swimmer, competing at a national level and sport was going to be an obvious choice of career, but my path turned corners and I found my love for music. I had always played the flute but my love and passion for music only grew, and I had a motivation to get better each day. Millfield’s incredible music department gave me endless opportunities to learn and develop as a flautist but also as a musician. At the end of Year 11, when I decided music was what I wanted to do, everyone was so supportive and as a result have helped me gain my place at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. I am so grateful for everything the teachers have done for me along the way and I feel so lucky to have been a part of an amazing school.