A Rhymney Valley student has told how he beat the bullies to reach the final of Britain’s Got Talent, as a part of Welsh choir Only Boys Aloud.
Ricki Pullen, a student of The College Ystrad Mynach from Fochriw, was targeted at school for as he didn’t enjoy sports and was more musically minded.
But with support from his tutors, Rikki, 18, ignored the jibes from the bullies and has excelled as a member of Only Boys Aloud.
The former Rhymney Valley Comprehensive student has been singing since he was 11 years old, but also has a passion for helping develop the youth of tomorrow.
Rikki is currently studying CACHE Level 2 Support Work in School – a course which teaches child development, safeguarding the welfare of children and young people, communication and relationships and equality.
“It’s crazy walking down the street and having people recognise me from the TV, and it’s great that others acknowledge that young people are achieving and not just hanging around on street corners.
“But, I must say that the support from my teachers was so important in shaping the person I am today. When I was being bullied it was a tough time, and it wasn’t a nice thing to go through.
“Although, in a way, I’m glad I went through it because I have come out a stronger person and it wouldn’t have happened if my tutors hadn’t told me to ignore the bullies, carry on singing and be myself.
“Now, I’m looking to give something back and support teachers in developing the next generation, as I find helping others so rewarding.”
Rikki’s tutor at The College Ystrad Mynach, also a singer in her spare time, Emma Baxter, added:
“Rikki is fantastic to teach and is so enthusiastic. He’s extremely supportive of the other students and draws on his experience of his previous work placements in secondary schools.
“He has a really demanding schedule at the moment, with the release of their upcoming albums, but you wouldn’t know it with the standard of his work. In fact, we didn’t know it – he didn’t tell us he was part of Only Boys Aloud for months!”
Bryn Davies, Principal of The College Ystrad Mynach, said:
“We’re delighted to have such a talented student in Rikki, who boasts both a passion for his singing but also a determination to succeed in a career in the teaching profession.
“We also pride ourselves in our teaching staff and the teachers are always here to support every student in every way they can, and our staff will always look to support students in their academic careers and other interests.”