Q&A with Edgbaston's head girl, Fareedat
Congratulations on becoming the next Head Girl. Can you tell us how long you have been at EHS and a little bit about your journey at the school?
I joined Westbourne (EHS’s Pre-prep and Prep Department) when I was about three years old. I found it difficult to adjust to being in a classroom environment with lots of other children and throughout Prep, developed a bit of a reputation as a naughty girl. When I moved up to the senior school, it felt a bit like going back to square one and starting all over again. I’ve always loved Art, music and English and as I got older the teachers really encouraged me to push myself and do my best. My nan always taught me the importance of education and by Year 9, her influence and the patience of the teachers started to rub off. Something clicked and I realised that although school gave us all these amazing opportunities, it was up to me to really make the most of them. Year 9 was a real turning point for me.
How would you sum up your experience of EHS and how do you think EHS has helped shape you as a person over the years?
One of the main things that EHS has taught me is that it’s about more than just ourselves. When I was finding my feet in Years 7 and 8, it wasn’t just me who grew, it was a two-way street where teachers were willing to learn, give you a second chance and find new ways of approaching things. School encouraged me to change my outlook and because the teachers were willing to come on that journey as well, I felt seen, heard and really valued. I’m a firm believer that there is always a way even if, at first, it isn’t immediately obvious. That growth mindset has come from my experiences at EHS and knowing that with hard work and determination you really can turn things around.
What advice would you have given to your younger self and to students who may just be starting out on their EHS journey?
I’d have told myself to be patient. My younger self wanted everything to happen straight away but it’s a process and you have to be prepared to put the effort in. When I look back on my time at EHS I can see such progress from where I was in Year 7 to where I am now in Year 12 - but it took time and it was a process that involved a lot of patience and determination. The other thing I’d say is to do everything – just try everything that the school has to offer, even if you don’t think it’s your sort of thing. Don’t get to Year 11 and regret not having taken advantage of all the opportunities the school has to offers, as well as those that you can seek out yourself.
What or who inspired you to go for the role of HG?
It wasn’t really a single individual. It was a combination of teachers encouraging and believing in me over the years, as well as my Nan’s enduring influence and my own belief that I had something to offer and even if I didn’t win, I might as well try.
What does being Head Girl mean to you?
To me, becoming Head Girl isn’t really about me. It’s about me representing everyone at the school – even those who don’t usually think they have a voice. School is a community and we share it with so many unique people who all have a contribution to make. I hope that me being Head Girl will show people that you don’t have to get everything right, but that if you are authentic and prepared to create and make the most of your opportunities, we can all grow and shape how we want our future to be.
When you become Head Girl what will your key objectives be and what are you looking to achieve?
I’d like to make sure that everyone’s voices are heard by restructuring and re-energising School Council. Historically, each form has had a single rep who has taken on the responsibility of representing 20 people. That’s a lot to expect of one person so we need to take the onus of individuals and make the exchanges more meaningful and inclusive so that people right across the school have the time and space to really engage in the conversation. I’d also like to help put EHS on the map. I’m really proud of all the amazing things we do as a school but sometimes, we’re too inward facing. We need to be more proactive about getting out into our local community. Getting involved with local causes and issues will not only develop our reputation locally but it will also help girls develop important life skills like empathy, compassion and communication.
And finally, a little bit about yourself and where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time...
I’ve been told more than once that I have the ‘gift of the gab’ and I do love talking to people and hearing different people’s perspectives. I also love writing in all its forms from short stories and poetry to playwriting and mood-boarding. I’m doing A’levels in History, English and Drama and have ambitions to go to RADA or read English at somewhere like Oxford, Durham or York. In 10 years’ time, I’ll be 27. I’d like to be doing something creative, maybe on stage at The Globe or having written a play or a book. But ultimately, I hope to be doing something that I enjoy and something that always drives me to want to do better.