Student secures top US Scholarship

Brentwood School Sixth Former Daniel Hirst has been awarded an extremely prestigious scholarship to one of America’s finest universities.

Seventeen-year-old Daniel was flown to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US for the final round of interviews for the Morehead-Cain Scholarship - one of the most sought after in the United States.

The scholarship is only given to around three or four students from the UK each year and it will not only cover the full costs of Daniel’s education in the US, it includes his living costs, housing and a Discovery Fund for him to use to travel.

Daniel, who lives in Brentwood, attended a Fulbright Lecture four years ago where he discovered more about scholarships to US universities and has been ‘slightly obsessed’ with the idea ever since! “I've always wanted to go to America for university and this scholarship was perfect for me,” he explained.

“I'm studying Further Maths, Latin and Physics. As for what I will study long term, I have no clue. That’s the advantage of America, I can sample subjects before I decide what I want to major in in a year.”

He is most looking forward to an Outward Bound trip this summer which is also part of the scholarship. The three-week hiking trip will see Daniel try his hand at sea kayaking and backpacking in the North Cascades in Washington State.

Headmaster Ian Davies said: “This is a superb achievement and is due to the hard work and dedication that Daniel has shown throughout his time at Brentwood. I would also like to thank the many teachers who have supported Daniel through this process, notably Mr Barfield, Mr Cooper, Miss Summerfield, Mr Taylor, Mrs O’Connell and Dr Tiffen.”

Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the oldest public university in the United States and enjoys a rich history of more than two centuries.

The Morehead-Cain is a four-year merit scholarship and Daniel had to work his way through a tough selection process. 

After semi-final interviews, 126 finalists were invited to the university campus for Final Selection Weekend. Over the five-day visit, Daniel and the other finalists explored Carolina, met their scholar and candidate peers, and completed two panel interviews with small groups of the Central Selection Committee.

Daniel, who is a Senior Praepostor (Prefect), will also enjoy additional summer trips each summer he is at university and a separate $8000 Discovery Fund which he must use ‘for something useful.’ “It can be used to go to different places to attend lectures and seminars, to start your own business, or even to rent a motorbike to ride to Machu Picchu,” he said.

As for the future, Daniel’s options are wide open. “I don't know what I want to be doing, but I do know that want to use the scholarship to find my passion and then hopefully it'll be fine and I will know what to do with my life.”

Morehead-Cain said: “It isn’t the high-achieving student we seek so much as the scholar—the one for whom knowledge is about more than grades and test scores, and for whom learning is an appetite rather than a means to an end.”

Mr Davies said the university prospects for all the School’s Upper Sixth students continued to look strong. “On top of the 30 students who have received a total of 43 unconditional offers between them, we also have seven students who have been offered scholarships from a range of universities.

“I am also pleased that we are continuing our success with Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine applications this year. Even though many universities are still to send out their offers for these courses, we already have 10 students and one recent leaver with offers. Congratulations to Antonia Ashaye, Kieren Higginson, Rosie Johnson, Chloe Jordan, Narendra Mampitiya, Isabel Reid, Franco Ngan, and Emily Warren (all Medicine), Nirvana Leaver (Veterinary Medicine), Valentine Quail and Old Brentwood Vicky Huang (Dentistry). Another student has been interviewed and is awaiting her decision. I keep my fingers crossed for her.”