A group of students who have been to UKSA with their school to sail every summer holiday have now qualified as RYA Dinghy Instructors.
The students, from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Buckinghamshire, have been coming annually since Year 7 and are now in Years 12/13. Some were complete beginners when they first went out on the water at UKSA. Over many years the trips were under the leadership of Jeremy Graham, with assistance from a large number of school staff.
This year, teacher Chris Savvides led the group. He said: “We are really delighted. These pupils have exceeded our expectations and been exceptional.”
Dr Challoner’s has been coming to UKSA regularly for years, clocking up over 50 separate trips ranging from dinghy sailing to keelboating to multi-activity weeks.
Mr Savvides explained: “The main reason for coming here is because it is so well managed, the students get a really good deal and get a lot out of it. The instructors are very accomplished and the trips run themselves. As teachers we can have a pastoral eye on the students but let the instructors run all the activities. We come back time and time again and are happy to give up part of our summer holidays to do so, which speaks volumes about how good we think UKSA is.”
Student Elliot Lewis, 18, said: “I wanted to top off all the sailing experience that I have had from my trips to UKSA and cement it with a professional qualification. I got my RYA Dinghy Instructor certificate with coastal endorsement. This trip was really enjoyable. Quite a lot of work went into it but it was worth it. There was lots of time out on the water and lots of time to ask questions, plus funny moments with our team. I am really fortunate to have forged a really close link to UKSA with school – it’s been brilliant.”
Charles Brewer, 18, added: “I started here in Year 7 which was the first year I joined the school and I had no idea what to expect and had never done sailing before. Since I’ve been here I’ve loved the sailing but also discovered there’s so much more than just the sailing. It’s excellent that our school has had the ability to give us this opportunity as I would never have done it without my school giving me the chance.
“After all the sailing sessions, going for my RYA Dinghy Instructor seemed like the obvious follow-on as it opens up genuine career paths and opportunities, and teaching seems like excellent fun. UKSA has really impressed me and I might come back and do more here one day.”