During the October Half Term break, we were delighted to host one of our alumni, André Gillesen from Norway, for a tour of the College by our External Relations Officer. In an account of his time at St Lawrence College, André reflects here on his years at the College and shares his deep appreciation for the experiences he gained at the College.
Originally from Norway, André arrived in Ramsgate in 1988 whilst his sister, Cecilie, started at the school in 1987. The siblings’ arrival at St Lawrence College coincided with their mother taking up a position with NATO, starting them off on their British journey. During their two/three year stay, the siblings became part of the St. Lawrence College community.
While at St. Lawrence College, André found himself in Cameron House, in the building which once stood on the now Kirby car park. His time there was marked by lasting memories. A standout experience for André was his involvement in the College Choir, and he fondly remembers his seat in Chapel.
Cameron House, more than just a place to stay, became a home away from home for André. He spoke with gratitude about the House prefects who offered guidance and support as he adjusted to life in a new country and an unfamiliar educational system. André excelled in his academic studies and was particularly thrilled with the tutoring he received in Maths. The Head of College at the time was John Binfield, who encouraged André to tour guests around the school, something which he recalls fondly.
The history surrounding St Lawrence College also intrigued André during his time here. A persistent rumour that fascinated him was the existence of a smugglers’ tunnel beneath the College’s woodland area next to the old tennis courts. It added an element of mystery and adventure to his experience at the College.
Ultimately, André’s family had to return to Norway, but the memories and experiences from St Lawrence College stayed with him. Over the years, he frequently reminisced about his time at the school. St Lawrence College’s unique and enriching environment meant that André’s time here was not just educational but a chapter in his life filled with cherished friendships, unforgettable moments, and the promise of future adventures.
In his own words, André memories serve as a reminder of the lasting impact that educational institutions like St Lawrence College can have on students and the sense of community and belonging, they foster. His experience is a testament to the value of an education that extends beyond academics, shaping the lives and aspirations of its alumni.