SPOTLIGHT - STELLA ALDRIDGE
The Spotlight falls on Stella Aldridge, our spin and bread loving Deputy Head of Admissions and Alumni Relations.
Stella’s former years were nomadic as her father was in the Army. He was in a Scottish Regiment so the dulcet tones of a Scotsman always work wonders with her. She grew up surrounded by bonnie Scotsmen in trews and tam o shanters. Having failed to become a member of the Metropolitan Police, either mounted or as a member of the drugs squad due to her shortsightedness, she ended up at the Law Society in Chancery Lane for a short time. I put it to you m’laud that the bar was not the career for her and she “fell” into the manufacturing industry and it soon became her passion. Rough cut capacity planning and economic batch sizes was something she dreamt about and was lucky enough to be quite successful and explored the FMCG industry in many guises from foam bath to footwear to fromage frais! She was fortunate enough to work for Nestle and Virgin Mobile, empowering and progressive companies and learned from them. When her daughter Lily came along, she had time on her hands and volunteered at Warminster Prep to gain an insight into life at school. Stella was totally amazed that after a life in industry she actually enjoyed it and from this began her 2 years of night school and 4 years of university to equip her with the tools to work with children. Because after all children are not yoghurts!
How long have you worked at Warminster?
Ten years next September. I can’t quite believe it. I began in Learning Support invigilating and then became a Learning Support Assistant. More recently I have worked with our very own loveable Scotsman, Graeme McQueen developing the School’s Alumni. A job I truly enjoy.
This January I moved into Admissions and came out of the classroom completely. I do miss the day to day contact that I had with pupils as their warmth and friendliness was what made my role so enjoyable.
What’s the best thing about your role?
The best thing about my new role is the variation of the day. No day is ever the same and I can either be having a Skype call with a pupil in China, meeting a parent from anywhere in the country or talking to an 83 year old Old Verlucian about his time at the School. This is the favorite part of my job.
Describe a typical day?
There is never a typical day and it’s a role that has you thinking on your feet. From a parrot squawking on a Skype call, a lunch with a group of Old Boys, to organising a WSPA quiz night. I can sometimes be found in Reception with the postman, singing to Jenni the Headmaster’s PA, plumping cushions in the family room or running across the campus looking for a tour guide.
What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?
I love the sense of camaraderie at Warminster. I have made some amazing ‘friends for life’ here, not only through my son and daughter but my colleagues too. I love the passion that is shown to support the pupils and generally it is done with a smile and a joke. It is something I treasure, as at a particularly difficult time in my life the support of my colleagues and friends was what got me through. Also watching the children I supported in class leave Warminster to go on to be successful is fantastic - I have a soft spot for all of them.
What would surprise us about you?
Hmmmmm… there could be a number of things!
I have 10 scrapbooks dedicated to Princess Diana. She was my hero when I was younger. So much so that my first wedding dress was an homage to hers with a Scottish twist of course. Pictures available for a small fee… I am a qualified Step Aerobics instructor and I have dabbled in Indian Head Massage too. Oh, and I have a tambourine.
I am also a total spinning addict and nothing gets in the way of this. I now have a healthy stock of padded lycra and I can wax lyrical on the benefits of a 45 minute, fast paced, disco style spin class.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a mounted policewoman for a while. My father was a jockey when he was a young boy, maybe this was where it came from. Then, whilst dancing in my bedroom, the dream of being a choreographer grew. Sadly, this never amounted to anything. However, I still love to dance so my time spent at the Harcourt and Morris School Of Dance was not wasted!
What did your school reports say about you?
I was quite a shy child whilst at school. Very diligent and studious but tried very hard. So “Stella tried hard”. However, two of my previous bosses at work have noted “Stella does not suffer fools gladly”.
Your note/advice to teenage self?
“You can’t hide behind that 80's floppy fringe forever”
Your mantra/motto or favored quote?
Both by British industry giant, John Harvey-Jones:
"In order to solve problems, information has to be shared; and not only information, but doubts, fears and questions."
"If you are doing things the same way as two years ago, you are almost certainly doing them wrong."
Most treasured possession?
My fathers Regimental Cap Badge and his Glengarry bonnet.
People that chat on the phone on the train, in the supermarket or walking down the street.
Placebo and anything 80’s. My husband Nick says I live in a time warp.
T-shirts – I love a t-shirt and have quite collection. From Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Twilight Movies, Placebo, Placebo, Placebo...Isle of Wight Festival AND I also love pork scratching’s. Oh yes and bread. Don’t get me started on bread. You can keep your flowers and chocolates. If ever I am upset or down, my friends buy me nice bread!
If you were on Masterchef what would your signature dish be?
Quiche – I am a great quiche maker or maybe a roast dinner. I am not a fine dining aficionado, more a homely, family cook.
Favourite TV programme?
Currently Peter Kay’s Car Share. I also loved Modern Family and The League of Gentlemen.
Last book you read?
Big Brother – Lionel Shriver. I loved We Need to Talk About Kevin by her and this was almost as good.
Last movie watched?
Trainspotting 2. Best film I have seen in years and the cause of a lot of self-reflection.
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Gillian Anderson. Sexy, sultry and sophisticated. Just like me!
Lager or beer.
Favorite place/city in the world and why?
Scotland. The accents, the countryside and haggis in batter!
Twitter or Facebook?
Both. Follow @Verlucians for School and OV news.