Pandemic stranded student credits lockdown for exam success

Pandemic stranded student credits lockdown for exam success

A student from the USA who was stranded in the UK for a year during the pandemic has credited that period as the catalyst for his excellent A level results.

Finn Bennett, from Maine, USA, has achieved A,A,B in Government and Politics, Business and Economics in his A level exams and says his experience at school and hard work during the pandemic supercharged his predicted GCSE grades during Covid from a 4 to a 9 - the highest grade possible.

Finn didn’t see his family, who are based in the USA, for an entire year while attending Millfield, in Somerset, as he could not fly home due to Covid travel restrictions.

Today, the 18-year-old student celebrates his results back at home in the USA. He has an academic scholarship to study at The University of Virginia, USA, where he hopes to major in finance and eventually pursue a career in investment banking.

Finn joined Millfield in September 2018 for Year 9. In late 2020, thinking that pandemic lockdowns were behind us, Finn returned to Millfield to prepare for his GCSE exams, having been managing the five-hour time difference to Maine since the first lockdown came into effect. As government lockdowns continued to come thick and fast, he remained in the UK, staying in Millfield boarding house St Anne’s, which had been home to his father Guy 30 years earlier.

During lockdown Finn stayed onsite, took classes during the day, and bonded with fellow students still living at Millfield by playing various sports and games in the evenings. It was during that time that Finn discovered his passion for Business Studies and took his academics to the next level. Finn said “I wasn’t that interested in business, but my business teachers, Mr Owlett and Mrs Cox, really inspired me. I missed home at the time but being stuck in the UK ended up really helping my results, in many subjects I went from a grade 4 all the way up to a 9.”

Finn took inspiration from his Business Studies and Politics classes and put it into action when in 2022 he set up his own dog biscuit company to raise money for the PAWS animal shelter, based back home in Maine. After creating his dog friendly treats, aptly named Bone Appetite, Finn contacted local businesses and asked if he could display his treats and give them away for free, asking only that customers give a small donation to PAWS in exchange for a bag. The venture raised a fantastic $2,000 for PAWS, who provides care to homeless cats and dogs.

On what it’s like to board at Millfield, Finn added, “Boarding really helps you to make close friends at school. The diversity of people who attend Millfield allows you to become friends with people you maybe wouldn’t come across if you attended a local day school. Being on campus all the time enables you to get more involved with opportunities and events going on around the school; in that way, Millfield is a great preparation for university as you get that all-rounded campus experience. When I first came to Millfield I was quite shy, but the independence that boarding gives you really made me come out of my shell and embrace the opportunities on offer.”

Finn’s Housemaster and Business Studies teacher Richard Owlett, said, “Finn managed to defy a monumentally tough separation and still shone through every moment. He is tough, resilient, committed and determined. He now heads to Virginia University and has pulled out all the stops to continue to work for his grades.”

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