|27 Mar 2023
|Life After Hymers
|Alumni in USA
What years were you at Hymers College?
I started in first year of the Junior School in 1986 so it was a full 10 year stint! I was lucky to be in a class (1B) that was co-ed in 1989 when girls were admitted for the first time into the Senior School (before Sixth Form).
How did the teachers at Hymers help shape your career choice?
There were so many great teachers at Hymers throughout my 10 years and I can still remember most of them. In the classroom, I did like maths better than most other subjects. The earliest teachers in the junior school made lessons really fun – Mr Taylor was my form teacher and Mr Harston taught maths (“eggs and ham-ples” used to get a good laugh when he gave an ‘example’). The foreign language teachers were all great, but I pursued spanish at A-Level over french mainly on the basis that I really liked Señora Powell and she was the teacher (also, the class size was smaller given French was more popular!)
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities?
Pretty much any sport I could try! I have always loved sports – starting in the Junior School with football and cricket. I managed to somehow get some football games with the year above purely by virtue of being left footed and they were short of someone with a ‘cultured’ left boot in that age! In Senior School, I played rugby and cricket in the A teams and enjoyed those experiences tremendously (ok – well maybe not rugby practices when having to tackle lads who were twice my weight). As everyone who was lucky enough to go on the Australia rugby tour of 1996 would likely say – that three and a half week trip was special and finished off my time at Hymers on a massive high.
Are you still in touch with anyone from Hymers?
I am in touch with a few (Paul Castle in particular, who was an usher at my wedding) but being out of the UK for more than a decade means it’s difficult to see many face to face. Thankfully, with Facebook and other social media it is much easier to keep in touch with people remotely – especially when there are so many other 96’ers living out of the area and abroad. Facebook/Instagram are so much better than Friends Reunited (remember that blast from the past?!)
What is your fondest memory of Hymers?
The Australia rugby tour in 1996 was probably my fondest memory. All of the tours we went on were great though (rugby 7s, cricket). I didn’t go on tons of school ‘holidays’ but I do fondly remember going on an outdoor sports/water sports holiday in Austria (I think) – it took forever to get there on a coach (and ferry) but that trip is still probably the only time I have been water skiing!
My decade at Hymers was so full of happy memories that I find it a shame, living in the States that my two children won’t be able to attend. It would also be novel to have them be taught by my friend from the same school year and sporting team mate, Greg Bone!
Year 7 Rugby Team in 1989. Simon is on the back row, second from left and Greg Bone is also on the back row, second from right.
The further away from Hymers that I live and the older my children get, the more cherished the memories of my school days become. I think it’s also because I am reliving various memories of my school days as my children are living through theirs!
What did you do after leaving Hymers College?
I went for a pretty traditional route of going straight to university – I chose Durham and studied Maths (I must have been crazy – and still to this day shudder at just what a terrible choice of subject that was, it was way too hard for me!!). Durham (Grey College) is a fantastic city to study and live in, as the numerous Old Hymerians who have attended would no doubt agree.
What took you to America, resulting in you settling down there?
In 2005, I started work at Smith & Nephew (good Hull link!) as an accountant. I progressed upwards and enjoyed working in different aspects of finance within a large company. Around 2008, I started taking on global secondments and had time living and working in Florida, London, Shanghai and Zurich. When I was on my Zurich ‘gig’ I met my future american wife who was also on a secondment there with her company. I got transferred to Boston (USA, not Lincolnshire!) with Smith & Nephew and my wife moved there with me from Switzerland. In 2014, our daughter Claire was born and then, in 2016, our son Charlie came along and we decided to move to Washington DC (my wife’s hometown and where her parents live). This is where we intend to live as the kids transition through their elementary/middle/high school years ahead. I’ve had enough of moving trucks and changes of address, so I’m pretty content to be here in Washington DC for the foreseeable future!
What advice would you give to our students, who may be thinking of traveling or relocating in the future?
A motto I keep repeating, given that I’ve been on a ‘round the world journey’ is, “When you are given an opportunity, take it with both hands, focus on the positive aspects and you’ll never know where it takes you”.
Also, to coin a famous phrase, “A person’s mind, when stretched, never returns to its original shape”…this is what I’ve taken from my relocations and experiences especially in the past decade.
Simon is now part of the "Alumni in USA" club on our Old Hymerian website. If you are an Old Hymerian and live abroad, please check out the Old Hymerians Club Page to see if there is a club in the country that you reside in. If there isn't a club, please feel free to contact us to suggest one.
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