In the second of a series of articles to mark the 100th anniversary of Wanstead High School, former student Richard Wisker (class of 2011)reflects on the school’s support as he began his acting career
Wanstead High School holds a special place in my heart, not only for the quality education it provided but also for the invaluable life lessons it taught me. From the moment I stepped foot onto its grounds, I was enveloped in an atmosphere that celebrated diversity and inclusion, making it a place for everyone.
One of my fondest memories of attending Wanstead High was the daily walk to school via the underpass at Redbridge Roundabout. This seemingly mundane journey became a symbol of the path I would later take in life. As I strolled through that underpass, I felt a sense of anticipation and excitement building within me. It was during those moments I realised my passion for the arts, particularly in drama, dance (I was the only boy who did dance in my year) and music, which were fostered and nurtured by the school.
Even in the face of personal challenges, such as the loss of my beloved nan, who also lived in Wanstead, the teachers proved to be pillars of support. They understood the difficulties I was going through and made allowances for me during those tough times. Their empathy and understanding left an indelible mark on my heart and I will forever be grateful for their unwavering support.
Beyond the classroom, Wanstead High provided a backdrop for forging lifelong friendships. On the bustling High Street, my friends and I would congregate after school. We would savour delicious chicken and chips, engage in spirited conversations and even indulge in impromptu football matches on the nearby green. These carefree moments nurtured a sense of camaraderie and belonging that I cherish to this day.
One aspect that distinguishes Wanstead High from other schools is its commitment to accommodating and fostering the extracurricular pursuits of its students. As I delved into the realm of television shows, the school fully supported my endeavours. They not only encouraged me to chase my dreams but also worked around my busy schedule, ensuring my education remained a priority.
Looking back, my time at Wanstead High School was a transformative period in my life. It taught me the importance of embracing diversity, fostering inclusion and supporting one another through both triumphs and tribulations. The school provided an environment where individuality was celebrated, talents were nurtured and friendships were forged. In the annals of my life, Wanstead High School will always hold a cherished place, reminding me of a time when I was surrounded by educators who believed in me and friends who stood by my side. It is a testament to the profound impact that a nurturing and inclusive educational environment can have on shaping the trajectory of one’s life.
For more information on Wanstead High School, visit wansteadhigh.co.uk