In a way, it’s really been Clare Tonks’ destiny to study at Oxford. After all, the Huntington High School Class of 2010 member’s entire family hails from England and she grew up visiting the United Kingdom each summer. Her parents met while they were both attending Oxford University. Now it’s her turn.
Ms. Tonks flew out of New York’s JFK Airport bound for the UK earlier this week. “I always knew if I had the chance to go abroad, I would want to study there,” the Huntington grad said about her coming semester at Oxford. She will be attending St. Anne’s College, which is the college within Oxford.
This is the spring semester of Ms. Tonks junior year at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She jumped at the opportunity to study in Europe. “I am doing a double major in psychology and English at GW and when I realized that they offered a study abroad program with St. Anne’s I thought, ‘what better place to study English literature than at Oxford,’ which would give me the opportunity to explore where my parents studied!”
Ms. Tonks will be studying at Oxford until June. The visiting student program is very competitive and she is delighted to have this exciting opportunity. While in Oxford, she will be specializing in poetry from the First World War and the novels of Jane Austen.
The Huntington grad’s college choice has worked out well. “My time at GW has been wonderful so far,” Ms. Tonks said. “It is amazing living in our nation’s capital. There are always so many interesting things happening and I have loved eating at all the restaurants and venturing out to different parts of the city.”
Shortly after arriving on the George Washington University campus in August 2010, the Huntington alum joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, “which has made a huge impact on my time in DC,” Ms. Tonks said. “I have made wonderful friends as well as getting involved not only on campus, but in the DC community.
Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded in 1870 at Monmouth College in Illinois and now has members across the country. “Our national philanthropy is Reading is Fundamental, which helps promote children’s literacy by giving books and other resources to areas of our country that need them most,” Ms. Tonks said. “I have had an amazing time helping to plan different events to support RIF, as well as taking part in other philanthropic events in DC such as the walk for multiple sclerosis we did around the Capitol last spring.”
The Huntington alum has served as her sorority’s chair for education, “which was a wonderful opportunity for me to practice my leadership as well as my organizational and creative planning skills,” Ms. Tonks said. “When I arrive at Oxford, I also plan to join some of the many student organizations they have to offer.”
Although she is set to engage in studies at one of the world’s premier centers for learning, Ms. Tonks will always remember where she comes from. “Two Huntington High School teachers who were particularly helpful in preparing me for college were Mrs. [Deborah] Beck and Ms. [Camille] Tedeschi,” she said.
“Mrs. Beck was my AP biology teacher and she not only motivated me to learn the information, but she also made it interesting and enjoyable and taught me study skills that I have found invaluable during my time at GW,” Ms. Tonks said. “Ms. Tedeschi was not only my global history, AP world history and women’s studies teacher, but we also had the opportunity to travel together when she chaperoned our trip to Peru in the spring of 2009. I had a wonderful time learning and traveling with her. Ms. Tedeschi does a wonderful job of making history come alive in all of her classes.”
It was with a true sense of excitement that Ms. Tonks left the United States on Monday for her new educational adventure. “I have been very fortunate to have been able to visit so many wonderful places, such as Peru, and I am so excited to continue my world travels in Europe this spring,” she said.
Information provided by the Huntington school district.