Dixie pupils and staff  were privileged to welcome May Parsons to speak about the pandemic, nursing and the life-changing experience of being the nurse who administered the world’s first (non clinical trial) Covid vaccine.

May gave the world’s first Covid vaccine to Margaret Keenan in Coventry in December 2020, making headlines around the world, and the Dixie Grammar School is the first school she has visited to share her experience.

Staff and pupils were fascinated to hear May’s key messages, not only with regard to the pandemic, but also reflecting her personal experience of being in the media spotlight and all that brings with it.

Miles Pulsford (Year 11) commented,

“The talk was a raw, insightful glimpse into the lives of nurses throughout the pandemic. May is inspiring, and captivated the attention of all.”

Emily Moyo (Year 11) also noted,

“This was an eye-opening talk of how being a nurse shows us the reality and how it can be challenging but is definitely rewarding. She was very inspirational and told us we should reach for the stars because if we fall we land on the roof but reaching for the roof you land on the floor. She also encouraged us not to let anything get in our way as she touched on the struggles she faced of racism, being in a new country and having to adapt. This shows how anyone can do whatever they put their mind to.”

Mr Gavin Bailey, Head of Biology and organiser of the event, commented, “It was really pleasing to have someone as experienced and inspirational as May visit the school. To share her struggles with pupils and staff and demonstrate how resilient she has become, all with a beaming smile on her face, captured the room. It was evident how challenging the pandemic has been to a front line worker such as May, but to see how well pupils responded to her being so open and honest and yet somehow find the positives was a great message for our students to experience.”