Coming to study at Eton feels like the fulfilment of a prophecy to me because I grew up very close to the College. When my mum was pregnant with me she loved to walk along the Thames path with my dad. One day she was looking at Eton and asked my dad what it was. He said it was ‘a posh school for elite boys. That’s where they make the princes and prime ministers.’ My mum said, ‘I’d like my son to go there’. My dad laughed and told her not to be silly. But here I am!
I didn’t have many toys, but my favourite toy was an abacus and I developed an early fascination with numbers. Primary school could be frustrating. I whizzed through my work then I had to occupy my mind while everybody else caught up. When I was about eight years old my parents noticed I was solving the problems on Countdown faster than the contestants and I resolved to apply to the show as soon as I could. In the meantime, I took up the challenges that were available. I was a finalist on Child Genius when I was 10. When I was 11 years old I became the youngest person to achieve the maximum score on the Mensa test.
I first became interested in Eton when the makers of Child Genius wanted to film me here. As a small child, I would look at the boys in their black uniforms and think they looked like the Death Eaters from Harry Potter. It didn’t seem like a real school to me.
At Eton it’s different: they’ll guide and support you anywhere you want to go.
Everyone worries about homesickness. And even though my family only lives a few miles away I was incredibly homesick. I was calling my parents every hour. Having your phone taken away at the end of the day is very difficult at first. But I was exhilarated by the doors I felt opening ahead of me. At grammar school, I found that if you want to push beyond a certain point you’re on your own. At Eton it’s different: they’ll guide and support you anywhere you want to go. There are so many prizes and competitions – I entered as many as I could!
The facilities at Eton are second to none and I was always determined to make the most of them. I was astonished by the design department. I was thrilled that the school paid for violin lessons and exams. I even tried the saxophone in the first year. I wasn’t especially sporty before I came to Eton but I’ve been impressed by the time and attention you get here regardless of ability. Other schools are only interested in the kids who already excel. Here they accommodate all abilities. I was a weak swimmer and Eton has provided the resources to ensure I’m much more confident in the water. I tried fencing, hockey, rowing and the Wall Game. You wouldn’t get that anywhere else! I finally applied to Countdown when I was 16 but, due to the pandemic, I didn’t appear on the show until I was 17. When my episodes were on TV everyone at Eton was watching at the same time. The support felt incredible. I felt such a huge part of the school community then.
I’m now studying double maths, physics and, of course, computer science. I’d like to study computer science at university then use those skills to solve some of the problems we face as a society.
So far, I have received an offer from Oxford. One day I would love to repay the school for what it has done for me. I’d love to set up some sort of scholarship because there are so many boys like me out there.