Junior Awards Evening
Monday 16th July 2018. 7pm
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and thank you very much for coming along to this evening’s Junior Awards Evening.
Tonight, we are here to celebrate the progress, hard work, and dedication of our lower year groups; to celebrate our differences, our common goals, and the collective responsibility we all feel to our school, parents and carers, and to ourselves.
We are also here to think about one of our priority founding principles: to support students to reach their personal excellence.
This excellence is different for you all. This excellence is unique. Tonight, we celebrate progress in many subjects: Maths, English, Design and Technology, Languages, Humanities, and Art – just to name a few. You are sitting here tonight because your teachers and staff are proud of your achievements over this past year and they have picked you as the one person they would like to congratulate over everyone else. This is a very special thing.
However, this evening isn’t just about saying well done to the people who have got the best marks in a test or get 100% all the time. Tonight is also about celebrating the effort, determination and commitment that underpin achievement. It is to those students who have faced challenges and may find things an uphill struggle that I look to for my own inspiration.
Those individuals show us how to overcome our own personal struggles. Moreover, they inspire us to turn such struggles into opportunities; to learn new things and experience new ideas.
So – thank you to you all for such inspiration; for making our jobs so enjoyable, and showing that passion and that thirst for learning which we all know is so important.
I would just like to reiterate our Chair of Governors’ words about the wider support you have had. You all know that you are sitting there because of the teachers who give you the opportunities, teaching assistants who are by your side supporting you, the progress leaders who are caring about your every move and pastoral managers who are looking after you day to day. I think they all need a round of applause!
I would also like to mention the support and influence that you get from home. The influence from home is so integral to your success: the encouragement in your studies, getting you to look smart in your uniform, getting you to school on time and every day, telling you to get off your phone and do some homework. All of these have the cumulative effect of nurturing your progress and success. So again, please, can we have a round of applause for all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, carers and guardians wo are always helping you to do well.
Did anyone watch the world cup? Absolutely fabulous – an historic event for Russia and a moment of national pride for England: the best outcome for about 30 years. But again – this didn’t happen by accident.
What we have seen is a team who have shown a commitment and determination, the outcome of which was that they exceeded expectation in the competition.
As I was reading an interview with Ronaldinho and I realised that there is a possible downside to gaining an award this evening. He said:
‘Brazil go into every World Cup expecting to win. You can't understand what the World Cup means to our country. Not just the fans and players, but everybody in Brazil lets us know that they expect it. Our president, people in politics, all tell us to come back with the World Cup.’
Now, obviously, they will be very disappointed in not winning, but it is the mindset here which interests me.
You see, in my mind, you are our Brazil team. You are the people we look to full of expectation. We expect hard work and an attitude that makes you an impressive ambassador for your school and for your family. Everybody will expect you to do well and to win.
Remember – winning isn’t a one match thing or a one set win or a one point thing. It is an all the time thing. Preparation is everything. Making sure that every day you are a little bit better at something. It’s a big responsibility!
Yes this is pressure but…
You are also our England for the people in this room. Everyone wants you to do well – cheering for you, helping you every step of the way. You will never be alone as you strive towards your goal. Yes, you will have your times when you are disappointed, but your nation – your school and family - will always believe that you can fight back and win!
Sport has a wonderful way of stirring up a national pride which many do not show day to day, and gives us excuses to unite and watch tournaments that we don’t normally bother with. My children wore face paints of the English flag – Eloise – my eldest – can’t even kick a ball and has never watched a match in her life. My better half wore England earrings for every match. It’s crazy isn’t it. This game united us all under a banner of pride of our wider country.
So then, how do we stir up some of these feelings about our school, about our achievements? You have achieved something great by getting here, and hopefully you will do it again, and hopefully, when you pick up your results, this pride can come up again – reminding you of the reason why you bothered in the first place.
And – do you know – this is okay. It’s okay to feel that pride in yourself and your friends. It’s okay to feel pride in excellence and be happy for others who have also got it. It’s okay to feel pride in the most improved school in the whole of Lincolnshire; it’s okay to feel proud of your English department or Maths department or your Art department or the football or basketball team. People work hard; so, be proud of them.
So, we have two options. We could just leave it and forget and get on with our lives or, tomorrow, you could go and tell your friend, ‘Well done, you are remarkable’. You can go to your English teacher and say thank you or your football coach and say thank you or to your dad for always doing your packed lunch or your mum for never missing a parents’ evening or your grandad for helping you make something for your homework.
I challenge all of us to take the time to say those words to encourage and show gratitude to those who support us.
Next year will be full of more opportunities to learn and new experiences. Just like this year, you will have a choice: the choice to just survive and get through or the choice to thrive. It is tempting to take the easy route but I really do hope that you will continue to take what could be described as the rocky path: the path which will challenge you, the path that will test your boundaries.
It won’t always be easy, but these tests in character and commitment will determine your success and measure your strengths.
So, my second challenge to you is to not just to survive but to thrive!
Many congratulations to all of our prize winners this evening.