Bishop Luffa was excited to welcome Patti Boulaye, OBE for a PSE session with Year 12. Patti, who rose to fame after winning the TV talent show New Faces in 1978, spoke candidly about her life, and discussed her experiences growing up in Nigeria during the civil war. Many students were moved when listening to some of the challenges she faced, and the group felt inspired as she told them about her sudden rise to fame on the stage and screen. Ms. Boulaye talked enthusiastically about her relationship with God, and how her faith has helped her through not only the difficulties she faced, but with the opportunities she has been offered throughout her life. Students were interested to hear about her work in helping organise the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and of the many influential people her career has allowed her to meet (we were impressed to discover Patti has met every serving British Prime Minister since arriving in England from Africa!)
Patti’s words inspired our pupils, and challenged them to consider some of the major decisions they themselves have to make in the next few years. She gave the students much to consider, and her inspiring story has left a real impression on our sixth formers.
Afterwards over refreshments, Ms Boulaye spoke informally with a small group of Year 12 students in the Briefing Room. To their surprise, she described a celebrity performance as ‘a public service’ that helps people feel refreshed and bright after a gruelling day at work. She talked of the guiding influence of God in her life, and urged the students to tap into that power through prayer. A favourite verse comes from Psalm 103: ‘He satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s’.
Some of the students had this to say after meeting Patti:
Poppy – “It was amazing that we got the opportunity to talk to such an inspirational and powerful woman. The experience definitely puts exams into perspective and allowed us all to think about what we are capable of achieving if we put our minds to it.”
Harriet – “Meeting Patti Boulaye was an experience I will not forget, her story was inspiring and her words were poignant, especially as she was talking about her large family and their struggle of living in Nigeria, and how she managed to put this all behind her and move to England and start afresh and achieve amazing things.”
Charlie – “Pattie was both motivating and engaging. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet Patti and hear her stories and about her positive attitude towards life. She encouraged us to be confident and hardworking, particularly in our upcoming exams. It was a privilege to meet such an inspiring woman.”
Grace – “Patti was really passionate about God and it was really great to hear about how she involved him in her day to day life. During her talk it was fascinating to learn about where Patti has come from and how she feels God has led her to where she is.”
Olivia – “I thoroughly enjoyed the visit from Patti Boulaye. Her enthusiastic and positive approach inspired us to capture every opportunity we face, and was a great way to encourage us for our future exams and challenges. It was amazing to see such positivity, and faith in God, especially from someone who had endured such a difficult childhood, yet managed to accomplish such amazing things.”
It was inspiring to hear her speak, and I was delighted to be presented with a copy of her autobiography, ‘The Faith of a Child’. It was a memorable visit.
Nick Taunt, Headteacher