Awards Evening

It was wonderful to see so many parents, staff, current pupils and recent alumnae at the annual Awards Evening on Friday 10th November. The evening began, as has become tradition, with the leavers from last year gathering for drinks, canapés and a very excitable (and loud) catch up. The school foyer was transformed into a balloon-clad party venue for a short while as everyone shared stories of summer holidays and their first few weeks of university.

The main event was a fitting celebration of the vast array of achievements for the pupils of the High School. Not only are huge quantities of A Level and GCSE certificates given out, but many other prizes too. Book tokens are awarded to pupils in all year groups for achievement and progress in their academic work. These are given alongside certificates for service to both the school and the local community, awards from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the drama awards from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). We were also pleased to celebrate a range of other academic awards inlcuding the Biology Olympiad, Mathematics Challenges and a whole raft of sporting awards and colours.

The presentation of Awards was interspersed with two artistic performances; the first was a montage from the recent Senior production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, evocatively performed by Phoebe Abbott, Mariam Ziada, Holly Barry, Ezri Mannion and Ellen Keys. The second was a beautiful rendition of Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera, performed by Imogen Day.

It is always interesting to see how different schools celebrate achievements and as this was my first Awards Evening, I wondered how it would differ from those I am used to celebrating in the summer term. The timing of our Awards Evening seems to me to be perfect as it enables us to really celebrate GCSE and A Level results and provides a unique opportunity for the leavers from the previous year to reconvene and re-establish links with their school, which we hope will last a lifetime. The pupils and recent alumnae are able, at this time of year, to really reflect upon their achievements; something which is quite difficult to do when you rush into an event at the end of summer term, unsure of your exam results and fresh from the intensity of the exam season.

The audience were treated to a really powerful speech from Cheryl Giovanonni, who is the Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust. Her focus on the equal rights of women in the workplace and the way that the GDST encourages our pupils to aim high was particularly resonant as she was speaking on Women’s Equal Pay Day. On this day, women across the world mark the fact that due to gender pay differences, women are effectively working for nothing for the remainder of the year. Food for thought indeed.

Thank you to all who attended the evening to support and celebrate the many and varied achievements of the pupils of the High School; as a school we are very lucky to have the strong support of parents, local businesses and staff but ultimately this benefits our pupils and gives them enormous encouragement.

Mrs O’Doherty


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