Bright Young Thing - Luke Elmers

Luke Elmers on winning a place at Oxford, his passion for modern languages, the importance of customer service and why he enjoys flying and gliding.

Tell us about yourself

I’m 17, a sixth former and prefect at Sutton Valence School, and I live with my parents Stephen and Lynne and our pet dogs in Hunton near Maidstone. I’ve just been offered a place at Merton College, Oxford to study Modern Languages, which I’m really pleased about. I'll be doing a four-year course in French and Spanish for a BA degree, and then I’d like to go on to do a post-graduate PhD. I’ve always been passionate about languages, and I spend a lot of my spare time reading foreign language books.

I attended Gravesend Grammar School before the family moved to Hunton six years ago, but although I was unsuccessful in transferring into Maidstone Grammar School, I was fortunate enough to be offered a

place at Sutton Valence.

What are you doing now?

Studying for my A-levels in French, Spanish, German and History. My parents have always taught me the value of hard work and aiming high, which is why I’ve studied so hard. For instance, I began learning Spanish off my own bat some years ago from CDs and books. Sutton Valence supported me with an individual timetable tailored to my subjects, which enabled me to study German to AS level, and now I've started learning Italian as well.

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What are your future ambitions?

To use languages to better understand the culture and ethos of other countries. I’ve never been to Spain or France, other than day trips, but I will have to live in one of those countries for a year as part of my degree course, so I’m really looking forward to that. I hope to become an interpreter and translator, and perhaps research Spanish literature.

The best thing about living in Kent?

I enjoy living in the country, and I have a great social life with friends – Tunbridge Wells is our favourite place for a night out, and there's a good choice of places to go. 

What are your hobbies and interests?

Quite a variety! I’m a senior NCO in the RAF section of the school cadet force and have been flying and gliding, I play the piano to Grade 5 standard, and I’m learning to drive. I’m also tutoring one neighbour for her 11+, and another who is studying GCSE Spanish. And I also do a weekend shift as a customer service advisor at my local Sainsbury’s. I particularly like the idea of having a job which gives me some financial independence, and not just relying on other people to buy things for me.

What was the last book you read?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the best-seller about a young Afghan boy which combines terrific emotion and suspense.

Are you a Bright Young Thing? Kent Life is looking for young, talented people under the age of 25. If you would like to nominate someone, or put yourself forward, please email:, including a daytime telephone number

Are you a Bright Young Thing?

Kent Life is looking for young, talented people under the age of 25. If you would like to nominate someone, or put yourself forward, please email, including a daytime telephone number.

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