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Alica Derome Rebecca Saul
Woodhouse College
Alica Derome Rebecca Saul

Woodhouse student Nina earns $60,000 scholarship in USA

Dated: 19 December 2018

Woodhouse student Nina Savio has earned herself a place at the prestigious Syracuse University in upstate New York, USA. On top of that, She’s been granted a $15,000 a year scholarship (for four years) to pay the bulk of her fees.
Nina said “I’m very excited and really happy. I got the email last Saturday telling me I’d got in and I was so shocked - I wasn’t expecting the get the scholarship too.
My Mum’s American and when I was younger I spent some time in the USA, so that’s always been an influence in what I might like to do when I get older. I love the liberal arts system in the US and that’s a main reason why I wanted to study there. In the first year I’m able to study a range of different subjects - I loved English and history at GCSE and didn’t really want to drop them, so I’ll get to study them more in Syracuse.”
Nina came to Woodhouse from The BRIT School for Performing Arts where she studied dance while doing her GCSEs. She is currently studying A level biology, psychology and French in her second year here.
“I always wanted to study in the US and at first thought about going to the west coast, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. I went through different phases of thinking maybe neuroscience or psychology. Then, after speaking with my Biology teacher Mr Verbena, the idea of dietetics came up. And because I’ve had health problems with gluten and lactose (and had to visit a dietician myself) it just clicked as something that I was really interested in.
 Crouse College at Syracuse University, a Romanesque building completed in 1889,
housed the first College of Fine Arts in the U.S. It is now the home of the
College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Setnor School of Music.
We visited Syracuse University in October as it is one of the top schools in the US for dietetics. The town is obviously smaller than London and quite quaint compared to here, but it’s near where I used to visit my grandma which is really nice. The campus is beautiful and the buildings are really gorgeous - like something out of Harry Potter - but it is cold there as it’s near to the border with Canada.
My plan is to choose dietetics (the branch of knowledge concerned with the diet and its effects on health) as my major (I plan to become a registered dietician) and also do a minor in dance. Studying in the US isn’t just a case of applying though. I had to do extra exams in year 12 and take the American SATs, and it was hard because it was a lot of English and maths, which are different to what I’m studying at A level. I had to balance the two sets of study as well as dancing outside of school - it was really stressful. I also did a specified SAT test (what they call subject tests) in Biology and French and I got really high marks on the French, which I’m really happy about. And they (the admissions team) like that you do that.
My scholarship is merit-based, so its based on my grades - my GCSEs and my predicted grades at A level - but also my achievements outside of school.
I’ve been dancing since I was about five years old and was part of a dance company called One Youth Dance for three or four years and then went to the BRIT School and did dance there every single day for two years. I’ve performed at Sadlers Wells Theatre with my ballet school in the Lilian Baylis Studio and also in pantomime among other things. And then years of training in classes and a programme I’m in called Studio 68. I‘ve also been volunteering for an organisation called ‘icandance’ which helps young children and young adults with disabilities express themselves through movement.
My teachers at Woodhouse were so brilliant because I didn’t give them a lot of notice to write my references, I only gave them two days… and they wrote amazing references.
Mr Rubinstein helped so much and was so optimistic about everything and made sure that everything went the right way and was very supportive. I don’t think I would have got that support at any other school. That really helped me to remain hopeful.
I've really enjoyed the past year and a half at Woodhouse. The teachers have supported me a lot and I think our college is also good preparation for what awaits us at University. I’ve really learnt a lot about my time management and organisational skills and definitely am better at them. And I have had the opportunity of just exploring subjects I love like biology and I’ve been on so many trips, to Cambridge to learn about microbiology, to Iceland and Lille… there’s just been so much offered here, it’s great.
I’m off in July 2019 and it is exciting but I’m also quite scared because I’ve grown up here and all my friends and half my family live in Europe (my Dad is French) but I think it will be a really good experience and I won’t be alone for too long. My Mum and Dad are really happy for me and they intend to move back to the USA too.”
Nina’s teachers are equally pleased for her and had no problem putting into words how they felt about her.
Biology teacher Mr Verbena said “Nina has certainly made a profound impact on all those she’s encountered at Woodhouse College since her arrival. She is a conscientious and intelligent young person who really cares about others.’
Head of languages Mrs Pari agreed “She is a kind, passionate, sparkly student who will make the most of all the opportunities offered.” and Psychology teacher Claire Hills added “Nina is a delightful student - positive and proactive. She is likely to be successful in whatever she does as she has such a great attitude.”
Head of psychology Katie Harrington has the final word - “Nina is an outstanding student who has been a pleasure to teach and I’m absolutely delighted for her. If anyone deserves this amazing opportunity, it’s Nina! I do hope she keeps in touch with us.”

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