Sam heads stateside after debate win

Published: Tuesday 28th April 15

Sam Nicholls, a sixth form student at Saint Cecilia’s Church of England School in Wandsworth, has won a four-week summer exchange place at the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Summer Institute in North Carolina.

Sam Nicholls

Sam, 17, was the overall winner of the Benjamin Franklin debate held at the US embassy in central London in March after debating the motion: ‘there can be a balance between ensuring privacy and security’.

High flyer Sam, who notched up 12 A* and A grade GCSEs last summer, said: “I am very much looking forward to  immersing myself in both culture and academia. I am already counting the days, and getting my Visa ready!”

Each year just a handful of youngsters from 35 European countries are selected to join ten American students in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship Program. This is a month-long, summer programme designed to promote relationships among European and American young people and encourage them to work together to solve real world problems.

“Sam is the only student from the United Kingdom confirmed to participate in the Ben Franklin fellowships this year, so this is truly a unique honour, and we are delighted about his success,“ said an Embassy spokesman.

“Saint Cecilia’s has an excellent track record in this challenging contest and Sam will be following in the footsteps of other students from the school who have benefitted from the exceptional learning opportunity provided by the Benjamin Franklin programme. We are very proud of Sam’s success and are looking forward to hearing all about his experiences when he returns to school after his visit to the US, ” said Niall Gallagher, headteacher at Saint Cecilia’s Church of England School.

The US is currently building its new embassy in Nine Elms, and embassy staff are establishing links with local schools, the council and the wider community before they move to the new site from Belgravia in 2017.

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