Hillcrest High School’s accomplished Trust Members
Hillcrest High School’s Trust is proud to boast that not one, but two of its members are now accomplished Rhodes Scholars! Past School Head Leader and current Chairman of the School Trust, Mbongeni Ndlovu was awarded a Rhodes scholarship back in 2012. Mbongeni read for an MSc in Development Economics at Oxford and is now investing his skills and experience firmly back in KZN, in a locally based company and also paying it forward in many other ways, including leading as Chairman of the Hillcrest High School Trust.
The second HHS Trust member was awarded the acclaimed Rhodes scholarship (to start next year) only recently. Dr Amy Booth is showcased in the following article, describing how the application process took place and what it means to be a Rhodes Scholar.
The Rhodes Scholarship (at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK) is arguably one of the oldest and most prestigious postgraduate scholarships available and awarded to “young leaders of outstanding intellect and character who are motivated to engage with global challenges, committed to the service of others and show promise of becoming value-driven, principled leaders for the world’s future”.
The application process is a long and gruelling process, starting with a very detailed online application, followed by a shortlisting for in-depth regional interviews. Due to COVID, the whole process took place online. Succeeding in the regional rounds, Amy went on to be shortlisted for the national interviews. Amy went on to say that “the interviews were certainly designed to challenge you in every way, to undergo some deep introspection and to re-evaluate your role in South Africa and the world”. After two days of national interviews, the panellists deliberated and the Chair phoned each applicant to inform them of their success or not. “It was undoubtedly the most stressful two days, but ultimately, the news was good and the realisation of such an incredible opportunity sank in” commented Amy.
The Rhodes Scholarship has always been a dream of Amy’s, who added that the chance to study at the University of Oxford and join a long history of change makers is the opportunity of a life time. She is excited to have been given the chance to engage with world experts on her topic of interest, to learn skills that she can use in the future and to interact with like-minded people to develop solutions to global issues. Amy’s ultimate goal is to use the opportunities that the scholarship provides, to bring about some change in South Africa, and even the world. Amy will be studying a DPhil (Doctorate of Philosophy) in Translational Health Sciences, looking at the environmental impact of our health systems, solutions to greener, more sustainable health care and the implementation of such solutions at a policy level. Health systems are huge contributors to waste production, greenhouse gas emissions and energy use but have largely been excluded from any responsibility towards environmental sustainability due to the nature of the services they provide. Amy intends to research solutions to the health system’s immense carbon footprint that will not impede patient care, but rather, improve it. Amy hopes to use the skills that she gains while doing the DPhil to revolutionise our health systems into environmentally sustainable entities. “By creating sustainable health systems, we are not only respecting our planet, but we will also reduce health care costs and be able to provide patients with healthier care. I hope to one day be responsible for the development of public policy guidelines as it relates to health care and be a key adviser on issues pertaining to the environment and health” says Amy.
As a past Hillcrest High student, Amy’s advice to current students is “Do not mess around in school – popularity only lasts until matric and once you leave school you will have so many more opportunities if you achieved good marks and participated in extra-curricular activities than you will if your claim to fame is being the popular kid. Take part in as many other activities as you can. Academics is not everything. You need to mould yourself into someone who has outstanding all-round skills. Engage in discussions on challenging issues and stay up to date with the news. Remember that those to whom much is given, much is expected. Be the person who gives of yourself to others, engages actively in outreach and public service, and stands up for those who the world has trampled. Do not be limited. The impossible is only impossible if you do not try”.
As a school Trust member, Amy has taken on management of the Trust’s scholarship process and has already made some exciting opportunities available to deserving students, who will also, no doubt, go on to make their school and country proud. Should you also wish to get involved or make a contribution to the Hillcrest High School Trust Scholarship programme, please contact Dr Amy Booth at email@example.com or Mr Mbongeni Ndlovu at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is very exciting to see young and such accomplished people wanting to invest so strongly in South Africa’s future.