School’s former head girl inspires pupils

Head girl Nancy Fenton with former head girl Dr Emma Gowling
Head girl Nancy Fenton with former head girl Dr Emma Gowling
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THE spotlight shone on star pupils who had proved their sporting prowess over the past 12 months.

The girls at Portsmouth High School welcomed guest speaker Dr Emma Gowling, a former head girl at the school, to their sports awards evening.

She was there to applaud the girls for their fantastic achievements in a wide range of sports. Dr Gowling, who works at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, spoke to the girls about the importance of a work-life balance and how sport plays a significant role in wellbeing.

Speaking at the awards, she said: ‘Scientifically, we know that exercise releases endorphins and neurotransmitters which boost mood, improve concentration and help you sleep.

‘This was noted as early as Roman times, when Cicero (a Roman politician and lawyer) said, “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigour”. Having a sport as a way to exercise and switch off from school is brilliant, both for your physical and mental health.

‘It’s important to take time out to stop and reflect.

‘Exercise may be all that is needed to tip the balance back in your favour. I would encourage you, even on the busy days at school or work, to think of what makes you the best you are and seek it out.’

Girls across the senior school received trophies and cups celebrating their achievements in sports ranging from tennis and swimming to athletics, hockey and football.

Headteacher Jane Prescott said: ‘Our sport curriculum is broad and balanced and encourages participation at all levels of expertise.

‘There is also a wide choice of co-curricular sports offering girls the opportunity to try something new and discover new interests and talents.’

And Dr Gowling added: ‘Our society has the tendency to put pressure on people to be a certain type of person. When you are scrolling through social media, it’s really hard not to make comparisons with others.

‘It is important for you to be you and that you are happy with being you.’