Woodhouse College
Alica Derome Rebecca Saul

Pride of Woodhouse Danilo gets Jack Petchey award

Dated: 6 December 2019

 
 
Today we are celebrating Danilo, the second of our Jack Petchey Foundation award winners this term. Danilo came to Woodhouse from the Archer Academy in 2018 and is studying classical civilisation, Spanish and English literature.
 
Danilo was nominated for the award by our senior tutor Hannah Johnston, who said...
 
“Danilo is one of those students that every college should have, he is such a lovely, friendly and generous young man who gives up so much of his time to run clubs and societies to the great benefit of many of our students. I recently asked him to write a tutorial for all our lower sixth students and he did so with great attention to detail and really took care to create a fantastic session. Danilo is a hugely valued member of our college community and we are all very lucky to have him.”
 
Danilo has been in involved in half a dozen different societies at college over the past year. We talked to him this week about the award and his work…
 
“I’m really surprised, happy and grateful to be nominated for the award. I saw others leading groups and setting up societies, but I was always too shy to do it. Then about half-way through my first year at Woodhouse I gained the confidence to try it and realised I wasn’t so afraid to approach people anymore. I’m really proud of the Languages and Cultures club that my friend Sama and I set up at the beginning of 2019. We set it up because we are both language learners and wanted to give others a chance to show and share their culture and language. Each week we’ve had students present about cultures such as Korean, Italian, Swedish, Arabic, Turkish, Slovenian, Polish, Russian… we are even having a student sharing sign language later this year… it’s been really nice because it’s united a lot of people.
 
When I was less than a year old, I moved to Italy and then back to England when I was five. I think I struggled to switch to English from Italian and at school never really got to grips with languages until year 11. That’s when I started teaching myself Swedish through Duolingo (a languages app) because I was interested in Scandinavian culture. I think that language learning is really important, especially lesser-spoken languages, and I like encouraging others - which is why I helped set up a ‘learn a language’ club which is kind of a support group for people who want to learn a language - we develop language goals and every month we discuss things that we are finding difficult. I’m now interested in learning Esperanto and Dutch.
 
I’m also proud of all the hard work I’ve done for Pride Club, it’s united a lot of people in the college. The LGBTQI+ display board I worked on during the holidays and the presentation I put together for tutor groups were a lot of extra work, but I really wanted to convey to students the importance of pride and acceptance. A lot of students still didn’t know what the initials of LGBTQI+ stand for. The presentation was presented to tutor groups by other members of the pride club and form tutors, and I presented it to my tutor group. Nowadays there’s a lot more issues than homophobia - for instance we discussed whether big companies are now using the LGBT image just to make money rather than be supportive and how rights have changed in the last 100 years. We also talked about better ways to make the Woodhouse a more accepting community. Although I would say that Woodhouse is already a really diverse and accepting place. There’s a lot of support and Student Services staff are always there for you.”
 
Danilo has also been instrumental in developing a Classics book club and a Gothic book club.
 
“My friends and I love classical literature and wanted to read more outside of the specification but wanted to do it in a way where we would be more motivated and could talk to other people about it. I think that elements in classical literature and the tragedies we study at Woodhouse have a lot of similarities with modern day soap operas.
 
I want to study classics and languages at University but in the future, I’d like to be a tv or soap opera writer - hopefully on an American soap like ‘Days Of Our Lives’ which my friends will tell you I am quite obsessed with.”
 
But Danilo’s interests don’t finish there…
 
“Farida Ahmed (the college equality and diversity coordinator) and I recently put together a proposal for an Autism and Disability awareness group that starts in a few weeks, because I always felt that a lot of things under that category are often made fun of - not necessarily due to meanness but mostly due to ignorance. Many of those members that have already signed up to join us have talked about how they have already felt better because they know that it’s not just them and there’s a sense of solidarity. We do have a number of students who fall under the autism spectrum somewhere, but they are often afraid to disclose it as it’s often mocked on social media and stuff and some people are often unaware of how they are hurting others feelings. Hopefully this will bring more people together.”
 
And as for the Jack Petchey Foundation award money?
 
“I’m not sure yet what to spend the money on. I may split it between languages, pride and disability to spend on educational resources and posters. I also have an idea to host some sort of Woodhouse Pride event next year… Whatever it goes towards I am really grateful for the award, so thank you.”
 
And we thank Danilo too. It’s clear that he has developed a real talent for bringing people together and ‘uniting cultures’ as he puts it. We thank him for the continuing hard work he puts in for his fellow students at Woodhouse and congratulate him on his well-deserved award.


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