Former Student Profile - Tess Shennan - Class of 2011

Guild Careers

What years did you attend WHS?


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

For my A-Levels I studied English Literature, History and Fine Art.

I always enjoyed taking part in extra-curricular activities and in Year 13, I was lucky enough to be part of the Student Leadership Team as Deputy Head Girl. The team were absolutely fantastic, and I have many fond memories of our arranging events, hosting fundraisers, discussing ideas, and generally spending time with a great group of people.

I also loved being part of the Chamber Choir until I finished school. This was a real highlight of my experience at Wycombe High, and I have many great memories of rehearsals and concerts, in particular the annual Christmas service. I recently joined a choir in London where I live having thought about how much I loved being part of the Chamber Choir at school.

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

Too many to share really! Sixth form was a real highlight. We had a great year group; everyone got on so well and made a big effort with events. I specifically remember a brilliant array of costumes for our leavers’ dress up day!

I loved school trips such as our raft building day in year 8, where we all travelled to Hillington to build rafts which we then tried out on the water. I studied GCSE French, and as part of this had the opportunity to do a homestay in Paris. My friend and I stayed with a lovely French family and we got to explore Paris during the day.

I’m still best friends with my group from school, and we often talk about fun times we had at Wycombe High.  

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

After school I went straight to Exeter University to study English. I loved my time at Exeter and the flexibility of the course allowed me to try lots of different modules including modules in film which were a real highlight. Exeter is such a beautiful city, and I loved being by the sea. 

What are you up to now?

I am the Senior Press Officer at Sadler’s Wells in London. Sadler’s Wells is a theatre dedicated to international dance in all forms. I work as part of the press team, where we are responsible for managing any press that might run around performances at the theatre. This might mean inviting critics to review performances; setting up interviews and photoshoots with artists; working with journalists from newspapers, TV and radio contacts, producers, directors, dancers, actors, artists and many others within the theatre and dance world. This means that every day is different and exciting. One day could be planning press campaigns, and the next preparing for the Olivier Awards. It’s a fast-paced world which also involves watching a lot of theatre and dance!

Prior to working at Sadler’s, I worked for 5 years at a theatre PR agency specialising in West End and touring productions such as MAMMA MIA!, Wicked, productions at the Donmar Warehouse, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Emilia and many more. I was lucky enough to be able to take a 6- week sabbatical whilst at the agency, during which I developed my love of art and painting. I took a couple of courses at the Slade School and The Art Academy in London; and travelled to Paris and New York to see the amazing work in galleries there.

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

Take your time and remember you are always learning. It’s easy to want to be fully accomplished from day one and to know exactly what you want to do by Year 13. It’s absolutely fine not to know. There is great fun in learning from mistakes and trying out lots of new paths to find your way. Just enjoy yourself and go for it, and don’t let anyone stop you!

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