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Certificate Evening - November 18

Pride in abundance yesterday when our Year of 2018, our Year 11 leavers of this Summer, returned to celebrate their GCSE successes at our Annual Certificate Evening.

With the Hall packed to over-flowing with excited ex-students and proud parents and staff, the event was opened by two of our current Head Students. Subject nominations were shown on screen, followed by the announcement of the winners who came to the stage to receive their awards and pose for parents to capture that elusive ‘photo moment’.

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We then moved on to whole-school awards before our Chair and Vice Chair of Governors, Jonathan Phillips and Justine Whitworth, presented GCSE Certificates.

It was delightful to have so many former students joining us to celebrate their fantastic successes and notable personal triumphs.  The evening concluded with a much-enjoyed story, complete with audience participation, from our Chair of Governors, followed by our address.  As always, we include it for you here:

Mr Amos :  This week has seen the US Space Agency NASA land a robot on Mars. The first pictures came back within minutes despite the distance…approximately 140 million miles. Almost instantly the astronauts currently living in the space station were talking of their excitement at the prospect of using the same technology to transport humans to visit Mars in the near future.

Ms Hooper : Such extraordinary leaps in technology and engineering are almost commonplace now but just over 56 years ago, the then US President, John F Kennedy, delivered an iconic lecture at the Rice Stadium in Houston about the incredible feat of the US in landing a man on the moon. In it, he alluded to the extraordinary speed of change and technological progress. Imagine what the pace of change has been since then -  you actually have, in your pockets, computers that far exceed the capability of anything used to land that first man on the moon, enabling you to access information in milliseconds that would have taken previous generations hours to research on paper, in a library. We have the ability to communicate instantaneously across the world, to watch pictures from Mars.

Mr Amos : I can recall the innovation of a pocket calculator when I was at school. I had to use things that we called a slide rule and log tables…things that will mean nothing to you. The pace of growth and change is exponential. And with change comes challenges.  In 1630, one of the founding fathers of the USA said that all great and honourable actions are accompanied by great difficulties and must be overcome by unswerving courage. It is incumbent on every generation to show such fortitude.

Ms Hooper : But if time teaches us anything, it is that human quest for knowledge and progress cannot be deterred. We will continue to make advances. The momentum for change is there. The challenge is to ensure that each generation recognises and fulfils that potential in a positive and cooperative way for the benefit of all.  Grand words…and you might be thinking ‘what has all of that got to do with us?’

Mr Amos : At the beginning of Year 11, we spoke to you and presented you with a challenge: to exceed the quality of the previous year group; to study better, to achieve better, to make better progress, to be better young people. As part of that, we laid on an extensive menu of additional opportunities - The Calthorpe Extra Programme.  We laid out our expectations…even our demands. But we cut nothing from the list of opportunities available to you. And so, MUN, Music concerts, productions, SSLT , charity fundraising and more all continued.

Ms Hooper : And did you flinch? No! Did you attend all those extra lessons? Yes! In fact,  we had to lay on even more after-school classes, in even more rooms in some subjects because you turned up in such great numbers.  And did you star in shows and concerts, lead events, raise money? Yes! Did you work hard? Really hard? Yes! Did you achieve what we asked you to achieve? Yes, you absolutely did!

Mr Amos : And through that time, something else emerged:  a sense of aspiration. You wanted to do it for yourselves. You set yourselves  lofty ambitions and strove to achieve them. The momentum gathered pace. You changed and progressed….and it was a joy to see.

Ms Hooper : The school’s motto is ‘young people who aspire for themselves and inspire others’. Through creating that sense of aspiration last year, you have given us the gift of being able to cite your approach as an inspiration to those who will follow you. ‘Success breeds success’ is a phrase we use this academic year; a phrase that you allowed us to use. You created the momentum for Calthorpe Park to continue to grow and improve.

We thank you for that. But moreover, you did not just aspire or dream in vague and esoteric ways…as Terry Pratchett noted…

Mr Amos : “If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams, and follow your star…you will still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy!”

Ms Hooper : But you understood about hard work. You understood about commitment. You understood that you also needed to grow as young people, to contribute to the school, to develop skills, qualities and dispositions that will last you a lifetime, as the wonderful memories of GCSEs fade.

Mr Amos : Thank you for being those young people who believed in, and lived, The Calthorpe Way. It is easy for us, as leaders, to present a concept, a philosophy but it is entirely dependent on a community to buy into that. You did! You led that move into a culture that is now embedded.

Ms Hooper : We appreciate it and we know that those four pillars of the Calthorpe Way - of Challenge and Commitment, Respect and Responsibility, Care and Consideration and Integrity and Impression will stand you in good stead whatever path you follow, wherever your life might lead.

Mr Amos : In that same speech about the moon, Kennedy went on to say…

“We choose to go to the moon…and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organise and measure our energies and skills”

Ms Hooper : As you go through your life, we hope that you will always rise to the challenge, always work hard and with skill, always care about others, and always strive for ‘your moon’.

Mr Amos : We were enormously proud of what you achieved and of the young adults you have become. And we hope that in the future you might, you just might, look back at your time at Calthorpe not only with fond memories of the people who were there but also with understanding of the opportunities you were given, the successes you gained, the life it has helped mould and the person it has helped you to become.

Ms Hooper : We wish you every success and every happiness.

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