Beyond Penrice: Tom Deakin Former Student Tom Deakin Urges Students to ‘Get Involved’ with Politics Tom spoke in assembly to Year 9s this year, in the run up to the general election. He told them: ‘politics matters – it effects the school you attend, the bus you take, your everyday life. You are the future!” Tell us a little bit about yourself My name’s Tom Deakin, I was Head Boy here at Penrice in 2011. I went on to Truro College, then moved to London for a Year to study Medicine but decided that wasn’t actually the route I wanted to be taking. So I came back down to Cornwall and started to volunteer in local politics with the Lib Dems and from there built up my experience and was offered a job working full time on the campaign as Stephen Gilbert’s aide. When did your desire to be involved in politics begin? It actually began right here at Penrice five years ago when I stood as a candidate in the mock election for the Lib Dems. Back then we came second to the Communist Party! It was a really good experience and the school ran it very well and I’m so glad they’ve done the same again – but this time round even better. Why’s it important that young people get involved in politics? It’s important because we need a voice, as a younger generation. We’re the ones who will be carrying this country through in the future and we need to have our say on how it’s run. The only way to do that is to stand up, be heard and get involved. Who inspires you to do what you do every day? Locally, (Liberal Democrat candidate) Stephen Gilbert as he’s a local person with real roots in the community, but another real inspiration of mine is Barack Obama in the States. He’s just an absolutely brilliant guy who has revolutionised politics not only in the US but all over the world. Can you remember who inspired you back when you got involved at Penrice? I think in 2010 I can remember watching the leaders debates and keeping an eye on the news and took my perception from that – and it was Nick Clegg back then, who led me into this path, which just cemented over time by getting involved in everything I could. Meeting people like Stephen and realising how much I actually enjoyed it. Are there any teachers who particularly stood out for you? That’s a tough one! I remember quite a few who left their mark – Mrs Lewis in Maths, Miss Tooley in English and Miss Underwood in Drama who is no longer here. And of course my old Head of Year Mr Sutcliffe and Mrs White too. Favourite thing about Penrice? Definitely the opportunities the school l gives its students. Not just everyday school stuff but extra-curricular bits and getting involved in the local community. I can remember doing so much for local charities and then within the school, the Ball and the Fashion Show. I loved the opportunity to do a lot more than just learn. Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? I think, still working in politics. I don’t know which position – could be as a candidate for an election, it could be working for an MP or for a party in some way, but still on this path. What advice would you give an Year 11 leaving the school this year? Take any opportunity you can and when it comes to your future paths, take risks; quite often they pay off and you’ll be grateful you gave it a go, even if you were initially unsure.