Although stellar GCSE and A Level results mean that Old Moretonians Selina Schoelles (2017) and Georgina Lang (2018) are familiar with examination success, the news that they have both achieved top results and have been made Oxford Scholars following their first year at the oldest university in the English-speaking world is seen by both girls as a huge honour.
Selina and Georgina are quick to attribute their success in part to their education at Moreton Hall. Selina commented: "I was fascinated by the city of dreaming spires from a fairly young age, mainly because of its seeming otherworldliness and impenetrability.
"However, my attitude was somewhat changed shortly after I arrived at Moreton Hall aged thirteen and realised fairly quickly that girls – particularly Moreton girls – can do anything! Thanks to the Dennisons and Mr Reffell I developed a keen interest in history and by the time I took my GCSEs I was set on reading history at Oxford.
"After two further years during which I discovered the delights of eighteenth-century Britain, and was able to indulge my keen interest (or perhaps obsession?) in the Suffragette Movement on several occasions, I left Moreton in 2017 far better equipped than I realised to apply to Oxford."
Georgina, who began her journey in Moreton First, is reading Computer Science and Philosophy. She too reflected on how her schooling had enabled her to succeed. Georgina added: "Embarking on a degree containing two subjects I had never formally studied felt slightly daunting at first but I quickly realised I was more than prepared for the challenges both subjects could throw at me.
"Mr Dennison’s Oxbridge preparation sessions and the endless hours of individual support which the STEM department unfailingly provided prepared me perfectly for the tutorial environment which Oxford so uniquely offers.
"Mrs Halsall-Williams’ years of Spoken English lessons left me with the confidence to discuss my ideas and remove any nerves I may have felt so I had time to simply enjoy the subjects which I have so fallen in love with."
Scholarships at Oxford are awarded to those students achieving the highest academic success. Selina enthused: "Winning a scholarship for achieving a first class mark in my exams and coming within the top ten percent of history students in my year across the university came as a total shock.
"I actually came out of my first exam in a near-hysterical state convinced that I had blown it completely! (Any teachers who remember my similar performances during GCSEs and A Levels may spot a pattern...) I have also received the Alyson Bailes Prize awarded to the highest-scoring Somerville historian in first year exams, and am President of the Somerville History Society."
Georgina also completed her first year on a high. She said: "It was the icing on the cake to discover that, at the end of such an extraordinary year, I had been awarded a distinction in prelims (what would be called a First in finals).
"To celebrate this, those who achieve distinctions may wear scholars gowns throughout the rest of their degree rather than the usual undergraduate gowns. I feel incredibly honoured to be able to call myself an Oxford scholar and to continue to study at such an incredible institution."
Selina and Georgina celebrating at the Oxford Ball.