A teenager who left sixth form at Trinity Academy last summer with a clutch of top grades to embark on a degree course at Cambridge University has returned to his old school to receive another top accolade.
Jack Parkinson is in his first year at the prestigious Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, reading computer science, after achieving five grade A* in his A Levels .
He returned to Trinity during the Christmas break, where he was delighted to receive his Gold Duke of Edinburgh badge, ahead of the official ceremony in London where he will be awarded with his certificate by Prince Edward.
“Jack excelled in just about everything he did at Trinity,” said Duke of Edinburgh scheme co-ordinator Richard Mapletoft, “and he was the first in his year group to complete the Gold award so he is to be congratulated highly.”
To earn Gold, Jack took part in two expeditions in the Peak District and the North York Moors, camping for a total of five nights and back-packing for seven days.
In addition, he completed a gruelling cycling challenge, developed his computer skills, was a volunteer peer mentor for other Trinity students, and raised money for Bluebell Wood Hospice as part of his National Citizen Service work.
When asked to sum up what is needed to complete the toughest DofE level, Jack says simply “motivation”, adding: “if you want to do it, you can”.
He was pleased to return to Trinity to collect the award, and also to see his name highlighted on the school’s latest exam results display board. He recalled seeing other students’ achievements highlighted on similar displays when he first started at Trinity in Year 7, and confessed that he had always wanted to see his name “up there” but never thought he would.
“When I started at Trinity people said I could do it, but I thought I had no chance. I’d always wanted to go to a leading academic university and really started to work towards it in Year 12,” Jack said.
“After going to a summer school at Cambridge, I decided I really wanted to go there and I focused on that all through Year 13.”
Head of sixth form, Paul Flint, paid tribute to Jack’s work ethic: “He is a very talented scientist and mathematician, but he is also extremely committed and hard-working and it’s great that he has been recognised with his place at Cambridge.”
Jack has enjoyed a successful first term at the prestigious university, and has made the most of the opportunities open to him. “I’ve tried table tennis and I like cycling to Nando’s – and I’ve met some seriously clever people!” he added.