By Robert Haworth-Dunne (Dorms, 2006-2013)
My time at St Bede's back then, it was called, wasn't unlike any other school experience. It was filled with difficulties that I had to overcome and learn to develop strategies for, to cope with my struggles. Being dyslexic, I have always found it increasingly difficult to fit any academic bracket and didn't know how to fit into "normal" school life.
Whenever it was time that I had to write or spell, I would let out a sigh and think here we go again. However, to my surprise, unlike my previous schools, it was not like that. When I couldn't quite do something I was met with understanding and offered different solutions. I will never forget Mr Trenaman helping me grasp the fundamentals of English, allowing me to comfortably write something I always struggled with and, at previous schools, not had the support to expand my understanding. Look at me now I'm writing an article! A task I remember doing in English and hating every moment of it, not anymore!
Mr Hammond was the first teacher that showed me it wasn't all about pen to paper. Indeed, it was a lace tool to clay! My first insight into how I could flourish creatively was with Mr Hammond. I finally understood how I could exercise my mind while also producing work that I loved.
Now don't get me wrong, let's not mention Mr Hammond's struggles with me and my sketchbook... But, again, it was the dreaded paperwork that I oft avoided; I just wanted to do what I enjoyed. How Mr Hammond had the patience still bewilders me, but it's a testament to how amazing he was. My time in his classroom helped me realize the most crucial thing I still hold today I love to create.
Now Mrs Sparks was my most prominent advocate and supporter at Bede's in the learning support department. That lady had to put up with a lot of my breakdowns, endless emails from my teachers all with the subject "Robert’s paperwork" and my "I just can't do it" moans, and she would always work with my teachers and always find a solution to how I could do it!
My time at Dorms was again another tumultuous affair; however, as soon as Mr Juniper came in as head of the house, Dorms changed for the better. It was so much more homely and felt like a second family. I still remember vividly sharing a beef wellington I made in my certificate in culinary skills in the house kitchen with Mr Juniper and some of my closest friends, just like a family meal. Mr Junipers' support in my education again was invaluable, and he did have to put up with a fair few melodramatic tantrums.
Coming out at school was always going to be a daunting task, one that I never really thought I would be doing nor something I thought I would have a good response to; however, how wrong I was. The support and confidence I gained were unbelievable, and the support from teachers and students alike was unexpected. Mrs Excell was nothing but a massive help in my journey and one of the first teachers I confided in, paving the way for me to be who I am now.
Bede's allowed me to flourish and develop, helping me understand who I was and what skill sets I had and how I could use them in my future.
From all of this, I now run a hugely successful multi-award-winning advanced skin care clinic in the heart of Bath which recently won the best clinic in Bath, helping people gain the same confidence I gained with assisting them with their skin concerns.
As DermaGuru, I specialise in providing advanced treatments alongside skincare education, using my in-depth knowledge to perfect and formulate the best solution for your skincare issues and concerns, working together to help you find your flawless skin for the beauty within.
I love what I do, and I would never have thought I could turn my love and passion for skincare into a booming business.
If you asked me at school what I would be doing at 26, I would honestly have no idea. I knew I loved art and drama, and I loved cooking. Who knew all of these I developed at school I now use in my clinic every day; the confidence I gained at Bede's is the one thing I will always use every day.
We loved seeing Rob recently, when he and Annabelle Akdeniz (another thriving Old Bedian entrepreneur) came back to see old teachers and also unexpectedly old friends (now working in the Zoo!).
Find out more about DermaGuru here: https://www.dermaguru.co.uk