Whatever you do, don’t tell JD Symonds he ‘can’t’
CedarBridge Academy head boy JD Symonds holds ten GCSEs
By Cooper Stevenson
When JD Symonds' science teacher challenged him to beat a previous student's record of attaining seven GCSE's, the 17-year-old CedarBridge Academy student took it personally.
“Along with the previous record”, said Mr Symonds, “He had 13 GCSE's. He said: ‘I bet you can't beat me.' So I said: ‘Oh, really?' He was like: ‘I doubt it.'
“And that's something I take personally. If you doubt me, I will go out of my way to prove you wrong.”
While Mr Symonds could not match his science teacher, he did break the CedarBridge record, attaining nine GCSE's with a double award in science.
Mr Symonds' academic abilities were also recognised last week when he came away with five separate honours from CedarBridge's Student Excellence awards, including the Principal's Cup.
An accomplished scuba diver, Mr Symonds has been prolific in his pursuit of ocean sciences, and plans to pursue a career in the field.
“When I was going from primary school into middle school, I was taken to the BIOS station for the Jason Project”, said Mr Symonds. “[That] really got me interested in marine science. After that I had a teacher that pushed me to do scuba diving.”
Since going on his first open-water dive at the age of 11, Mr Symonds has gone on to earn his PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Rescue Diver certifications.
He said his favourite dive site is a toss up between the Hermes and the Palladian.
“Hermes is deeper so you can only stay down there for so long, and the Palladian was the first wreck I ever went to, and I always find something new there. I love the Palladian.”
Now waiting to hear from the University of Tampa in Florida, where he hopes to enter into the university's prestigious Marine Science programme, Mr Symonds said he wasn't always so academic.
“Throughout Primary and middle school I was head boy. But in middle school (TN Tatum) I started to slack off when my parents were splitting up.
“In high school one of the teachers asked me what was going on in my life. Their story was more sad than mine and I was like: ‘Wow, you really pulled through.' So I thought maybe I can pull through too.”
Mr Symonds certainly has pulled through.
He is currently the Head Boy at CedarBridge, a student parliamentarian, and a prefect.