Brennen Vavra has been studying at Campbell College for two years. He still finds it hard to believe that his school looks like Hogwarts. “Being born and raised one Atlantic Ocean away, Campbell College was never a sparkle in my eye — up until a few years ago,” enthuses Vavra. “I was first introduced to the college in a pamphlet at my prior school in the Cayman Islands. It seemed so foreign and grand.”
After finding out what Campbell offers, Vavra knew that it was the boarding school for him. Located on the island of Ireland, Campbell is not your typical stereotypical English boarding school. Here, its “Irishness” is its strength, offering a UK education in a warm and welcoming boarding school environment to boys aged 11 to 18.
This was what gave student Nicholas Patterson Skansen an excellent first impression. “When I visited Campbell, everyone welcomed me with open arms, and I knew this was the school for me,” shares Skansen.
The school believes in nurturing and inspiring students to be the best they can be, and this is done by forging strong connections with its students and parents. “My parents and I were very impressed with the students and teachers and how engaging, communicative, and enthusiastic they were,” adds student Matthew Wilson. “We were also struck by the opportunities available beyond the academic, which included a wide variety of activities such as sport, music, Combined Cadet Force, drama, Pipe Band and House competitions.”
Indeed, at Campbell, students are inspired to fulfill their potential whether on the stage, on the sports field or in the classroom. Just ask Skansen. He wasn’t the best at Math but soon became confident in the subject thanks to his teacher.
“When I first came to Campbell, I was not the best Math student, but Mrs. Spottiswood was so good at taking the time to explain things at a pace that suited me. She made me an A* GCSE student, and now I am studying Maths at A Level,” he shares.
Meanwhile, Wilson enjoys studying Hospitality as it allows him to cook and learn more about the industry as a whole. “Mrs. Pearson — the school’s Head of Hospitality — taught me to cook from Year 8 through doing my BTEC in Hospitality in the sixth form and has been inspiring throughout my time at Campbell,” he shares. “Many boys can survive and cook for themselves after leaving school thanks to her.”
The school takes pride in its community and relationships, ensuring students enjoy their learning experience. Its peer mentoring programme, as well as junior boarding tutoring, are programmes that ensure every boy — no matter which form — constantly looks out for each other. Skansen is heavily involved in these programmes — he helps juniors with their homework and acts as a good role model.
“During the first week, they asked me questions about senior boarding: what it was like and how things change throughout the years in Campbell College boarding. I enjoyed this position as I became someone the juniors could speak to who was not a teacher,” shares Skansen.
Vavra agrees. “This opportunity has exposed the necessity of a relatable and reliable peer for younger students to take confidence in,” he shares. “My role involves listening to the troubles of younger students and letting others confide in me.”
Through these mentoring programmes, students evolve into confident individuals with leadership skills. Student Ollie Webb believes that his role as head prefect, where he “organises the prefect team, acts as a role model to younger students and works with the staff members,” makes him fully equipped to take his next step after Campbell.
“I feel like my time at the school has helped me to develop my confidence, communication skills, and leadership,” says Webb. “I think all three of these will be valuable qualities to have in the future, not only in further education and the workplace but also in life.”
Campbell is committed to providing an education designed to enable all boys to discover their strengths, becoming talented individuals who will excel within the school and beyond.
As the school’s Headmaster Robert Robinson MBE puts it: “When we see a student, we do not see a grade or a label; we see an individual with potential, and it is our duty to add value by helping them achieve academic success and appreciate the joy of learning.”