Sixth former at Croydon High school wins GDST Minerva Prize

Head Girl at Croydon Upper Sixth Form has been awarded the prestigious GDST Minerva Prize.


What is the GDST Minerva Prize?

minerva prizeEach year, the Minerva Prize is awarded for overall achievement to an Upper Sixth Form student who embodies the true GDST spirit and ethos, exhibiting qualities such as creativity, innovation, perseverance, resilience, kindness and empathy.

Nominations for the Minerva Prize are made by the individual schools, with sixth-form nominees completing a comprehensive application and then shortlisted pupils completing an interview with a panel of judges, including the GDST’s Chair of Trustees, Juliet Humphries, who said:


“As ever the standard of the shortlisted candidates for the Minerva Prize was extremely high and identifying an overall winner was difficult. The panel thoroughly enjoyed meeting Sarena and was extremely impressed with her many achievements, especially as they encompassed so many different and varied spheres.”


An inspirational role model

Sarena joined Croydon High at Nursery and continued through to Sixth Form and throughout her time at Croydon, she consistently represented Croydon High with grace and was an inspirational role model. During her two years in Sixth Form, she managed her studies and her many and varied commitments as Head Girl with energy and enthusiasm whilst still finding time to excel academically. Her commitment to the co-curricular life of the school was outstanding. For example in 2020, after Sarena was awarded the GDST Chrystall Carter public speaking prize for her speech on the topic of Racial Diversity, she decided to set up a public speaking club to assist others in preparing for the speaking element of their English GCSE. The theme of mentoring and supporting younger pupils is one that has run through Sarena’s time at Croydon High. During lockdown, noticing the impact of isolation on mental health, she took the initiative to set up a forum called ‘Let’s meet’ to allow students in lower years to informally voice any concerns they had.

On hearing the news of her award, Sarena said:


“I was delighted and honoured to have been put forward for the award and I could not quite believe it when I found out I had won.  I have no doubt Croydon High has been instrumental in making me the person I am today and so to receive this award on my last day at the school definitely added to the achievement. I hope that I can continue to live up to our school motto… ‘May her character and talents inspire others’.”


Other GDST prizes and scholarships

The GDST awards a number of high profile prizes and scholarships each year, including poetry, creative writing, public speaking, travel, classics and more.