A familiar face returned to Claremont High School in Harrow recently, but this time as a guest speaker.
Ryan Hack, a former pupil who left Claremont in 2015, stood alongside Mayor Councillor Orleen Hylton to address a Year 10 assembly, bringing a personal touch to the theme of aspiration.
Hack, now serving as the Food Justice Champion for Brent Council and Labour Councillor for Brondesbury Park, shared candidly about his school days and the impact Claremont had on his career.
He credited his teachers and the diverse subjects, especially History, for sparking his career in politics. “My studies at Claremont High School certainly contributed to my interest in politics.
“Each subject definitely had its own unique influence, especially History, and made me want to go on to study History and Politics at university, eventually graduating from UCL with a master’s degree,” he said.
He openly admitted struggling with Math, but he persevered, a testament to his belief in hard work and persistence.
His involvement in politics, particularly in fighting food poverty, stems from his own childhood experiences in Brent. Growing up in challenging circumstances, he witnessed his father relying on food banks, an experience that fueled his determination to make a difference.
Hack’s dedication led him to collaborate with London’s Community Kitchen, establishing a surplus food market at the Central Mosque of Brent, providing essential resources to the community and combating food waste.
During his speech, Hack encouraged the students to engage with local issues they cared about, emphasising the significance of their voices in shaping the community. “Politics impacts everything – from transport that helps us get to school, to the standard of lunches we eat whilst there,” he said.
“I would strongly advise getting involved locally with an issue you care about. We have the Brent Youth Parliament and everyone should definitely be a part of that. Young people deserve a voice and should hold those in power responsible.”
Hack’s down-to-earth approach resonated with the students, challenging stereotypes about politicians and inspiring them to believe in their own potential. As one Year 10 student, Noor Frech, put it, “His talk was especially powerful as he showed us that anyone can go into politics, just as he did, someone who went to our own school.”