I currently work at the Cabinet Office, having studied Classics at St Andrews.
It was always my parents’ desire to send their children to Stonyhurst and continue the long line of Chitnises at the College, however, I believe it was rather a shock to my grandfather (Dr Jay Chitnis OS 1949) to receive the news that his first grandchild to attend the College would in fact be his 7 year old granddaughter.
When I started at St Mary’s Hall, I was only the third girl in my year, which was a daunting prospect, nevertheless, the family atmosphere and incredible support from all of my teachers, paired with the rolling hills of the Ribble Valley, made me feel at home right away. Due to the small class sizes, I instantly got to know my peers exceptionally well, and we grew to respect each other’s talents regardless of our gender, making for the ultimate team to take on the challenges ahead and life-long friendships.
What Stonyhurst has to offer is second to none; the unfailing commitment from all of my teachers to enable me to reach my academic excellence is truly something for which I will be eternally grateful (Mr Turner (History) and Miss Parkinson (Classics)) you know who you are (it is very convenient for the pupils that the teachers mostly live on site so there is 24 hour help at hand!). The remarkable range of extra-curricular activities helped me to become a more confident individual, indeed, I certainly grew a thicker skin whilst playing hockey in the Baltic conditions on the Aquaturf.
The beauty of the place itself never fails to impress, turning down the Avenue by the Mary Statue is an image that is proudly indented on my brain with the verses of the Pater Noster playing in the background. However, what strikes me most since leaving Stonyhurst seven years ago, and having compared my experience to my friends and colleagues, is how Stonyhurst is so much more than a school to me, it has become my moral compass.
The key thing I learnt from Stonyhurst was yes, that I understood that I was very privileged to receive such an education, however, it was what I did with this experience, that would make me the person I am; the School’s motto is fittingly “Quant Je Puis” (“As much as I can”) and, if you live by this, this is where the true magic of Stonyhurst happens. Whether this is by helping with charitable ventures such as Arrupe, LTC, the Children’s Holiday Week, the Easter Retreat, Lourdes, or even just mucking in at school when someone is in need, this is where Stonyhurst thrives. It is here, twinned with the incredible Stonyhurst Community, that you realise the true value of the important lessons in life. Stonyhurst made a smart move by accepting girls twenty years ago. Not only has it definitely bumped up the grades and glamour, but has opened up the opportunity for more people to receive this unique education and be involved in the Jesuit ethos of ‘Men and Women for others’.