Former Student Profile - Haniya Dar, Class of 1996

Guild Y8

We look forward to welcoming back Haniya on Tuesday 5 November 2019 for the Year 8 Inspire and Career Talk

What years did you attend WHS?

1993-1996 prior to which I was at The Lady Verney.

What did you get up to at WHS in terms of study and extracurricular activities? 

I studied Politics, Economics and English Literature and was heavily involved with the school yearbook (including photographing the Queen on her visit to the school), I also loved the pottery club and badminton club in the sixth form. Whilst at Lady Verney, I loved playing netball, doing the self-defence karate course and getting my gymnastics badges with my friend Theo Daniel.

Do you have any fond memories you’d like to share?

I really loved my time at school and particularly enjoyed the various reviews and competitions, like Miss Binbag, where each form designed an outfit from refuse sacks, the white bin bag wedding dress was particularly impressive!

I remember the annual visit from the RGS boys dressed up as Lady Verney girls with freckles drawn in biro on their cheeks. They would kidnap the Head Girl and we then had to raise funds for her ransom which would go towards a charity the RGS was supporting.

I also have fond memories of my friends, notably Samara Majid who took Home Economics. The smell of cooking would waft up to my Business Studies class on the first floor and I would rush down as soon as the bell went to sample her latest project.

At WHS, I loved our Politics teacher, who really wanted a new kettle and so we bought her one when we left and stencilled the logos of the political parties on it. I remember there was quite a debate about whether we put the Lib Dem logo on or not, as space was at a premium on the kettle surface and we didn’t want really tiny logos. I think in the end we left it off as we didn’t consider them to be terribly significant, I thought of the kettle when the Lib Dems formed part of the coalition government!

What did you do after school? Gap year, straight into business or Uni.

I went straight to university.

If you went to Uni where did you go and why did you choose it?

I studied Politics at Royal Holloway. I knew I wanted to go to a campus university and was definitely interested in politics and economics. I wanted to be close enough to be able to pop home (I’m an only child with limited cooking skills). There were also excellent sports facilities and I really got into fencing in my second year.

What are you up to now?

I have just moved back to the U.K., after three years in Ukraine and am currently a consultant. I specialise in supporting charities and the private sector to win contracts from DFID, the international development arm of the British government. I travel abroad nearly every month, usually to the USA, France and Ireland. I am currently in Bangkok running a series of workshops over the next couple of weeks.

What do you know now that you didn’t in Year 13 that you’d like to share with current students?

I very much wish I had continued with my French, at least conversationally at university. I have spent some of my career living and working in Paris and Niger, in West Africa, and have been trying to improve my French for the last 15 years or so and it is much harder now with advancing years than it seemed at school! I also wish I could have told my 16/17 year old self to consider universities abroad and not simply limit myself to the south of England!

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