Hannah O'Brien

Year 13 – Head Student - Well Being

Hello everyone, I am Hannah, one of the head students here at St Michaels. I am 17, I study Biology, Chemistry and Maths and I am in the process of applying to study Medicine next year. Let’s talk a little bit about my experiences here. My first day was simultaneously the most daunting yet exciting day of my 11-year-old life.

The whole summer I was packing up my school stuff into a huge black handbag (a decision I would soon come to regret), why did it take me so long to pack you may ask? Because apparently, I was planning a trip into the jungle. The obscene amount of stationary rattling around in my bag combined with two planners, exercise books, a litre water bottle and other “essentials” turned my school bag into a contraption of sorts that could pull me back down the stairs buy its sheer weight. But none the less, my first day rolled around and I marched through the gates with my 2 glue sticks, 3 sharpeners, a stapler and a truckload of energy (a distant memory now) and embarked on the most incredible journey of my life.

They say your secondary school years are the most formative years of your life, you learn the most about yourself and about others which I completely agree with. You will make some of the best friends you will ever have at this school. What did I gain from St Michaels? Apart from a foot and a half of height and some memorable experiences – I gained some of the best friends I will ever have. Not only that, but I learned what it meant to work hard and strive for success.

I learned what it truly means to be surrounded by people who care so deeply about you and your success. I have never known a school to be so interconnected, teachers who have never taught me have become people I feel I can confide in, or have a chat with, or smile at me in the corridors on the rare occasion I’ve had a rough day.

Some of you might be nervous to leave the comfort of your primary schools, some may be itching to leave (like I was) but no matter who you are, St Michaels will accept you the minute you step into our school.

On my first week, the one moment we all dread when we go to our big schools happened to me, I got lost. I had ICT, as I gazed down at my timetable and looked up at the English block I had somehow arrived at, I panicked. Heart racing, eyes welling up. All the stationary in the world couldn’t have prepared me for this. Fortunately for me, a sixth former was walking down the corridor, they saw me (if I’m completely honest with you, I may have shed a tear or two in my panic) and they asked me if I was ok.

They told me they would take me to my lesson, I thought maybe this lovely girl was a gift sent from God. So, I arrived at my ICT lesson, took a deep breath, and prepared to open the door and blurt out “sorryiamlateigotlostandididntmeantooimreallyreallyreallysorry” but I didn’t get that far (thankfully some of my dignity remained intact that day), my teacher said “I’m so glad you’re here Hannah! I was starting to get worried. Don’t worry, getting around will get easier. Take a seat”. I took a sigh of relief.

You may have heard this already this evening from our students, staff or even been able to infer it from around the school, but St Michaels is like the warmest part of a home. It’s a place to feel safe and supported and hopefully somewhere you will call your home for the next 7 years of your life.


Think about your dreams for a moment, perhaps we’ve got some astronauts, famous writer’s, news reporter’s, engineers, or teachers in our midst. The one thing I can promise you tonight is that you can achieve your dreams here.