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Tessa Cavell

A trip to South America at the age of 16 has had a lasting impact on Tessa Cavell.


Deeply affected by the poverty and suffering she witnessed on an archaeology and community aid trip to Peru, the Head Girl at ACG Sunderland resolved to become a nurse.

“We stayed in a remote village and were helping to dig trenches to improve the irrigation throughout the village. I witnessed how people completely opposite to me live – there were a lot of beggars and amputees on the street. I want to be able to help people like that, hopefully to go back to South America as a nurse with UNICEF or World Vision,” she said.

Tessa has been receiving advice on her career path from the school’s “very knowledgeable” careers counsellor and said her school dean and teachers always have their door open, too. “I’ve grown up with them so we’ve formed a really close relationship. They’re so supportive – they’ll do everything they can to help bring out your passions, advise you and get you what you need.”

She says the leadership opportunities and Cambridge curriculum are a lot to balance in her final year of schooling, but they’ve helped her gain skills like time and event management. “Although Cambridge seemed dense and daunting at the beginning of the year because it’s more like the level of first-year University, now I feel it’s really prepared me for the next stage,” she said.

So where would she like to be in ten years? “Hopefully a registered nurse working with global organisations to bring aid to other parts of the world and people in need. My trip to Peru opened my eyes to the lives of people who are very different to me and haven’t had the opportunities that I have. I am very fortunate in a lot of ways, and I want to spread that fortune to others.”