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April 24th 2015

Olympic Hopeful returns to inspire the next generation

Cobham Hall recently welcomed former student Kate French, a Modern Pentathlete and Olympic hopeful originally from Meopham, back to the School to talk to current students about her career.

Kate, who recently medalled in the World Championships in Florida, left the school in 2009 for Bath University, a centre of excellence for the Modern Pentathlon. Having been representing her country for 10 years, she is aiming for the Olympic team to compete at Rio 2016. She said, “[I’m] doing something I love, and I get to travel the world doing it”. But she was careful to highlight the rigours of life as an athlete, explaining the hard work, repetition and sacrifice involved in training to compete on the global stage. Confirming this, Kate said, “With a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you set your heart on”.

Deputy Guardian during her time at Cobham Hall, Kate emphasised the importance of having not just talent, but a positive attitude. She cited self-belief, and the ability to control emotions and thoughts, as essential qualities to allow focus and determination to positively impact performance.

With girls across the school currently competing at County level in various disciplines, Mrs Kelli Hooper, Head of Physical Education at the School, was delighted with the visit, and hopes it’ll encourage the girls to set new goals. It does seem to have had the desired effect, with Maisy, our Year 7 Kent County cross-country champion, saying, “She really inspired me to do my best and her talk was very interesting.”

Cobham Hall’s Deputy Headmistress, Dr. Sandra Coates-Smith, said of the visit, “It was great for the girls to see the reality of what is possible to achieve as a Cobham girl. Success beyond Cobham becomes more tangible, and an inspiration for them to know that there is a world of possibilities out there.”

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