SPOTLIGHT – SUSIE PARRACK
The final spotlight of the year falls on our songstress from Pewsey Vale, English Teacher and Head of Ken House, Susie Parrack.
Susie was born in Marlborough so is a true Moonraker! She grew up on a dairy farm with lots of siblings and had an idyllic Enid Blyton childhood. There were ponies, dogs, huntin’, shootin’, fishin’… Susie travelled around the world for a couple of years in 1988/89 and was unable to email/skype home because they didn’t exist and so instead wrote letters. Her favourite mode of communication. She worked for an American travel company, an Australian interior design company and then eventually returned to Britain where she lived in London for 19 years. She worked for a fashion magazine and eventually made the decision to read Literature at university. Susie studied for her post-graduate certificate in teaching before qualifying for her first teaching job in a London state school.
How long have you worked at Warminster?
16 years. How’d that happen?!
What’s the best thing about your role?
Every day something makes me laugh. I love being Head of Ken House too: my prefects keep me sane! The Weymouth Crew break time ‘gatherings’ where we put the world to rights… or eat cake.
Describe a typical day?
Impossible. There is nothing ‘typical’ about a Warminster School day!
What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?
The pupils and staff and the stunningly beautiful grounds. At my last school in central London, the pupils had a square of tarmac about the size of my classroom.
One of the happiest and proudest moments of my time here at Warminster was attending The Old Verlucians' Dinner in June. It was a dream to be surrounded by so many wonderful, talented, confident and inspiring young men and women, who have been educated and encouraged at Warminster School. If I can dare to presume that I have had any part in their development as the most fabulous human beings, then I am deeply humbled.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than my former pupils coming to see me or emailing me. John Ng (OV14) telephoned my current Ken Prefects to remind them it was my birthday last week. When John arrived in Year 10 and his mother was tearful about leaving him, I told her I'd be his 'mum' in England. John sends me a Mothering Sunday card every year.
What would surprise us about you?
Ben in Year 7 thinks it is Thatcher Joe, brother of Zoella, fixing the roof of my cottage.
I would say it was either winning a beautiful baby competition or completing (and winning, of course!), a ‘bush-tucker’ challenge in the Australian outback.
What other Warminster role would you like to try for a day and why?
I would be a pupil. I could find out what ECDL is, learn the ‘new’ rules of Hockey and then visit Mrs. Arter, having come over all faint, just before Maths. Failing that, I’d be The Head for the day and inflict some new rules on everyone. Evil chuckle….
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
A singer or a vet but not both at the same time. I wanted to marry Donny Osmond too.
What did your school reports say about you?
I remember the Head of Sixth Form telling me that I would never be Head Girl like my older sister. I think I have blocked everything else out!
Your note/advice to teenage self?
Your female friends are far more valuable than the latest boyfriend.
Start moisturising now, including your neck.
Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.
Hidden ambitions still to achieve?
I would have loved to have ridden the cross country course at Badminton.
I have not quite given up hope of resurrecting my singing career so perhaps performing a sell-out concert at Madison Square Gardens?
Most treasured possession?
A letter from my father… and my Tiffany diamonds.
Difficult! I loved U2 in my teens and twenties but if I had to listen to one voice only, it would be the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.
I have a soft spot for AC/DC.
Ms. Davies would say my inability to fly economy: it has to be Business at least. My husband would say shoes or my kitchen disco nights.
In my view, I take great pleasure in many things and feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever!
Signature dish if you were on MasterChef?
Salmon wrapped in pancetta with grilled asparagus and a lime crème fraiche sauce. I would then either make a lemon tart or my passion fruit crème brûlée.
Favourite TV programme?
I love the Scandi-noirs so probably The Killing. Recently, I was completely hooked on The Missing. If I want to laugh, then Frasier.
Last book you read?
The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.
Last movie watched?
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Mr Cox, retired Head of Modern Foreign Languages, once told me that I reminded him of Kate Winslet so I’ll choose her. If I was playing myself, could I have Aiden Turner from Poldark as my love interest?
Pol Roger champagne.
Favorite place/city in the world and why?
After being away for so long in the late 1980s, my heart soared as I dropped down the escarpment into the Pewsey Vale. It’s in my DNA.
As far as cities go, my first holiday with my husband was to Rome. I have been several times and would love to live there, hence my Italian lessons for the last 3 years!
Twitter or Facebook?
Ideal way to spend Christmas day?
My ideal Christmases were definitely the ones I had as a child on the farm. My mother would insist that our ponies were mucked out, fed and watered before we were allowed to open any presents! My father adored Christmas and along with my siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, the house would be full and very noisy! We always played games and in the evening my mother would have organised Christmas Tree presents. Boxing Day was either hunting or shooting, a long walk and then more eating and games. Christmases now consist more of friends than family, but it doesn't make me sad. I am very grateful for happy memories of Christmases past.
A little bird told us that you recorded our Christmas track with your former pupils in less than two hours and without any rehearsal time. What is your secret?
Ha, ha…the Christmas film song. The secret is out! It was wonderful to see Elena Ramona (OV08) and Liam Howlett (OV08) again and also to sing alongside Lily too. I think I was at an advantage singing last so perhaps my voice had warmed up by then. I think 'the secret' is knowing you are surrounded by people who value and support you and this gave me the confidence to let my voice 'soar’ at 9:30 in the morning!
Listen to Susie on our little Christmas escapade – Operation Christmas Socks.