“Just be you, just be great, just be fabulous” pronounced the inspirational journalist, broadcaster and Blackheath High School alumna Charlene White upon her returned to the school.
The students were delighted to welcome Ms White back to the school to deliver a lecture as part of its academic enrichment programme ‘Wollstonecraft’, named after the the 18th century writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights. The programme of guest speakers, academic societies and innovative elective academic courses is available to girls throughout the Senior School and has been designed to provide inspiration, a broader context for their examination courses and the opportunity to test themselves intellectually.
Charlene spoke passionately about her journey to success in the highly competitive industry of journalism and broadcasting. She told of her experiences growing up in South East London accompanying her mother to local markets and living in a modest household where her parents had three jobs between them to fund her education at Blackheath High School. She recalled honestly how she has had to confront racism and sexism throughout her life and how this has made her stronger, stating that she is: “proud of all experiences because they made me who I am today.”
Ms White encouraged students to “aim high, be ambitious and have dreams”, adding that this must be reinforced with lots of hard work, resilience and determination. She also advised the girls to seize every opportunity to gain work experience and network in order to break into their chosen profession.
The school’s theatre was full of students completed enthralled by Ms White’s absorbing and amusing lecture. Sixth Form Student, Ketsia Mukobo, said: “There are not many times in a teenager’s life when they feel moved and transformed by a lecture but this enriching experience truly broadened my vision and mind- set. Alongside everyone else, I was positively affected by her integrity and I know that many students, particularly those who were able to speak to her after the lecture, were greatly inspired.”