Ronan Haskurti (2011-2018) My Merchant Taylors’ School Story

‘Without bursaries you have a reservoir of talent and potential that remains untapped. Don’t stop being aware of the impact you are having even if that doesn’t come through in the statistics or grades and awards. Think about the developmental and social impact you are having on someone like me.’– Ronan Haskurti, June 2023.

Ronan HaskurtiI want to start right from the beginning. Initially my family hadn’t even thought about applying to a school like Merchant Taylors’, considering our financial circumstances. However, a family friend saw an advert for Merchant Taylors’ and suggested we explore it as an option. My mother went to the Open Day, found out about the bursary scheme, and applied for a place the same day.

I still remember my interview with the Head Master, Steven Wright. At first I found it quite overwhelming, but by the end of the interview Steven made me feel welcome and reassured. Several months later, I started at Merchant Taylors’. It was a difficult adjustment at first: it was a very different school environment from the one I had known. But, despite the different social backgrounds of my fellow pupils, I made friends quickly; perhaps a reflection of the ethos of the school.

In my first few years, I felt I had to prove myself to justify the investment that had been made in me, so I was very focused on the academic side. Fortunately, the whole school experience balanced this out. I recall the school trips to Burgundy and Berlin that broadened my horizons and, despite my initial dislike of three compulsory sports (I only wanted to play football), I ended up loving Rugby and bonded with my team.

One of my first impressions of Merchant Taylors’ was the intensity and passion of the teaching. My two Chemistry teachers shaped my future. I still remember my first class with David Coote, whose passion for the subject determined my future university choice. Later I learnt that the topics he shared with me and my fellow A-level pupils in our first hour with him were at first and second-year degree level. Martin Powell, who is still teaching at the school, encouraged me to participate in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. That led to a summer school at the Cambridge College that I applied for and where I ended up reading my degree. Mr Powell exemplified those teachers who would push you to your ceiling. Without his advice and encouragement, I doubt I would have made it to Cambridge.

Another teacher who pushed me to perform was Joe Tyler, who sadly passed a few years ago. He had the skill to make English relatable to me, which was quite an achievement as I was very STEM-focused. He also coached me in Rugby. He was young and approachable, but if he thought you were slacking in any way, he would catch up on that very quickly. Another formative teacher was Malcolm Pacey, who taught me German, but pushed me to participate in a Japanese language lunchtime club. I achieved second-level proficiency through his encouragement.

I completed my higher education at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, last year and I am now training to be a Patent Attorney. In a rather romantic way, that has brought together the formative impressions that my teachers at Merchant Taylors’ instilled in me.

Without bursaries you have a reservoir of talent and potential that remains untapped. A bursary is an investment. After I left Merchant Taylors’, I became aware that it was one family’s gift that had funded my bursary. This family completely changed my life.

For those who support bursaries, always be aware of the positive impact you are having, even if that doesn’t come through in the statistics, or grades and awards. Think about the developmental and social impact you are having on someone like me.

Help to transform the lives of young men like Ronan by supporting the Bursary Fund