A FORMER pupil of a Leek school has returned to his home town to inspire today's school children.
Dr Simon Mitchell, former pupil of Churnet View returned to Churnet View school to talk to Year Seven and Eight pupils about his aspirations while at school and his achievements to date.
Next month, Simon will be taking up a post-doctoral position computational modelling various cellular processes in the field of immunology and cell fate decision -making at the University of California in Los Angeles.
During his visit Simon showed pupils photographs from his own school days and talked about the varied career options he had considered throughout his education, before now landing his top research role in Systems Biology.
Simon thanked the staff at Churnet View for a "great start to my education".
He advised the pupils to keep their options open and work hard at all subjects because they may present exciting opportunities in the future.
Julia Turner, headteacher at Churnet View, said: "What a pleasure it was to welcome back a former pupil to Churnet View and hear about his outstanding achievements.
"Many of the staff and I remember Simon and recall his wide range of talents, from mathematician to basketball player and saxophonist.
"He was a delight to teach and I am so proud that he has gone on to achieve his PhD at Manchester University.
"On behalf of all the staff and pupils at Churnet View, I would like to wish him every success in his future research role and new life in the USA."
Carole Callaghan, Simon's former maths teacher, added: "Simon's 'From Churnet View to Hollywood' talk was inspirational. The pupils at listened intently to Simon's recount of his academic career.
"I remember Simon as an enthusiastic, talented mathematician, gaining the first Level Six in Maths in school at the end of Year Six. I also remember his musical ability; particular playing the saxophone in End of Year concerts. Congratulations Simon."
Simon, who attended Churnet View between 1997 and 2001, said: "I am extremely grateful to all members of staff for their support and encouragement throughout my time here, which gave me the best possible start to my career."