As ever, we brought our Summer Term to a close with Speech Day, an opportunity to recognise pupils’ perseverance, hard work and positive attitudes shown throughout the academic year. The two prizegiving ceremonies saw pupils awarded for achievements and effort in academic subjects, sport, music, art and drama. The day also serves to let us say goodbye and good luck to Upper Sixth students.
The morning was a chance to honour the Junior School pupils, with entertainment provided by the Junior Guitar Orchestra, Junior and Senior Ensembles.
Before the afternoon ceremony commenced, parents were encouraged to explore the art exhibition, music concert and Barnum extracts. The Jazz Orchestra welcomed parents back for the Senior prizegiving.
Chair of Governors, Mrs Valerie Cusworth, opened the afternoon’s proceedings, speaking to a packed marquee about the success of the year, then handing over to guest Jim White, who transfixed his audience with stories of his experiences in journalism and the importance of harnessing one’s youthful experiences.
Headmaster David Holland talked about the changes at the school in the 7 years in which the departing Upper Sixth had been in the senior school, including the New Dining Hall, the Sixth Form, Blaxton Sports Grounds, the Music School and the Paver Hockey Pitch, before handing over to the Head Girls for a rousing final address.
Heads of School Morgan Everatt and Beatrice Holland spoke about their varied journeys through the school; Morgan talked passionately about the fact that Hill House had allowed her to make mistakes when younger, encouraged her to learn from them, and then recognised her development in recent years. Beatrice spoke movingly about the importance of contribution, that even if a pupil was not the captain of the team or top of the class, the Hill House ethos of participation was a key life skill which all pupils should learn, and which was recognised fully by the school.
As is tradition, the girls also presented the Friendship Cup. This year’s recipient was Jessica Boynton, for her “heart of gold”, with Morgan reiterating that the whole year group think she is a delight to be around.
The Senior Ensemble brought the afternoon to a close with a beautiful rendition of ‘I Have Got to Be Me’.