Alumnus of the Month
Angelo Weekes is our Westminster City School Alumnus of the Month for May 2021. Angelo left Westminster City School in 2004. He is now Representation and Democracy Manager at City, University of London, Students’ Union, and a Labour councillor, representing Mildmay ward in Islington.
Please tell us a little about yourself – where do you work and how did you get to this role?
I am currently employed at City, University of London, Students’ Union as the Representation and Democracy Manager. I lead on the delivery of the student representation structures, support and develop students to represent their colleagues to the institution, and contribute to academic enhancement and community development. I joined City after holding two similar roles at other London universities. I enjoy supporting students to have a great learning experience.
I have been involved with Students’ Unions since my A Level study at Richmond-upon-Thames College, where I was elected by the students to be an Executive Officer – Student Governor – RUTC Students’ Union. This afforded me the opportunity to communicate students’ views on projects, initiatives, and strategy at meetings of the College Board of Governors (the College’s highest decision-making body) long before they were put into practise.
After I completed my A Levels, I attended London Metropolitan University where I became involved in the university fees debate and, as a result, became a campaigning student. I maintained that involvement throughout my course of study as student academic representative and I was twice elected as a Students’ Union Officer. I had two great years working for change and improvement for all 23,000 students. After graduating from London Met, before arriving at City, I worked at the University of East London and then the University of Westminster.
In addition to working at City, I have the privilege of recently being elected as a Labour councillor for Mildmay Ward in Islington. In this role, I have four main areas of responsibility: to determine the policy of the authority and give it political leadership; to monitor and review the performance of the authority in implementing policy and delivering services; to represent the authority externally; and, most importantly, to advocate on behalf of my constituents.
What are some of your proudest achievements since leaving Westminster City School?
This is a hard question but I would say that it is making use of the experiences that have made me the person I am today. As a child from a single-parent household, who was raised at time when child poverty was rife in inner London and there were many barriers and challenges to overcome, I made the most of what I had at my disposable.
If I had to choose my three proudest achievements, they would be: graduating from university (I was the first in my family to attend university); being elected as a Students’ Union Officer and then as a councillor (ultimately, this demonstrates the faith and trust people put in me); and becoming the Chair of a board of school governors. I became a school governor in 2009 because I believe that good education is fundamental to giving children an excellent start in life and is a vehicle for positive change. I am currently a governor at a primary school and am Chair of the board of governors at a secondary school, both in Islington.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow a similar career path?
There are many routes to becoming involved in a Students’ Union. I chose to become a student academic representative, an elected officer, a co-ordinator and, from there, progressed to manager. You could get involved by being part of the student media team; taking up issues on behalf of your peers; joining/leading a society; or even as a student member of staff. The options are endless – there is something for anyone to get involved with in students’ unions. All further and higher education institutions should have a Students’ Union and it is important to get involved as soon as you can.
If you are interested in becoming a councillor, then get involved with the political party you can relate to. Contribute in any way you can: this may include attending meetings, door knocking, leafletting, fundraising etc. Keep actively involved and think about how you might contribute as a councillor. When the opportunity arises, put yourself forward – local elections take place every four years. Each party has its own way of selecting councillors, so find out about the process as soon as possible.
How have your experiences at Westminster City School contributed to your life and successes since leaving school?
I had five great and formative years at Westminster City School and still use much of what I learnt there.
There were so many staff who supported me and I have much to be thankful for. There are many names I could mention, but those who played a particular role in my development were: Ms Macliver (for encouraging me to use my trait of conscientiousness as a strength at school and in wider life); Ms Meadows (for encouraging me, and others, never to see the sky as the limit and to value education); Ms Soto (for always being supportive and for whom no question was too much or too trivial); Mr Hay (who taught me to value English as subject and the importance of presentation. He also taught me how to tie a Windsor knot, something I still do!); and Mr Owusu (for imprinting on me the importance of homework and the value of learning outside the classroom).
Can you describe one of your fondest memories from your time at Westminster City School?
There are four that really stick in my memory.
First, attending the launch of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at Waterstones in Piccadilly. My peers and I stayed at the store until midnight and were the first to get our hands on the book.
Second, being part of the cohort, on two occasions, to attend the University of Cambridge as part of a University Challenge-style competition.
Third, being part of our School football team.
Fourth, gaining the most merit achievements in my year group.
I will continue to support and help shape students’ academic experience. As a councillor, I will work to ensure that my constituents have a cleaner, fairer, greener, safer environment to live in. I also want to inspire other young people.
We love hearing what our alumni have been doing since leaving Westminster City School. Each month, we are inviting a member of our alumni community to share their story of life after Palace Street. If you’re an alumnus who would like to take part, or you’d like to volunteer an alumnus that you know, then please drop us an email.