Sophie Browning and Sam Laird, Heads of School for the Michaelmas Term, have given their speeches in the Headmaster’s Assembly.
Good afternoon school,
I hope you have all had a lovely summer and are ready for another busy year ahead.
Firstly, I would like to take this chance to congratulate Sam on becoming head of school. Having known him for a long time I feel that I am qualified to say that this position is really well deserved. I must also congratulate Chadwick and Dan, from whom we take over these roles, for their success last term. I would like to thank Mr Thomas, Mr Farrell and all of the SMT for giving me the chance to take on this responsibility, it truly is an honour. I hope that I can make use of this position to give back to a school that has given me so much.
Of course, along with this new role came the somewhat daunting task of writing this speech, which proved considerably more difficult than I could have imagined. I had 8 weeks, ample advice and a lot of support but it was still incredibly hard to write. To be completely honest, I thought that I would be able to sit down and knock out a speech in a couple of hours that was unique and inspiring and that I was happy with. Needless to say, this was not the case.
At the start of the summer, upon receiving this role, my friends immediately presented me with a long list of banned words, including the classics ‘opportunity’ and ‘community’. They were eager for me to make my speech unique. In fact, everyone I sought advice from said the same thing, just make it different – helpful. Having listened to over 25 head of school speeches, those that have had the greatest impact on me had a story behind them or included that person’s defining moment. This presented me with another problem because I didn’t feel as though I had a story, let alone a defining moment. To me it feels as though I have just kind of bobbed along, I played some violin, cried over some maths, did some GCSEs and here we are.
But then writing this speech gave me the chance to reflect on the past couple of years and I realised just how idiotic that assessment was because I think it is safe to say that we have all been impacted by some pretty significant events. We’ve survived a worldwide pandemic, an ongoing war, four prime ministers – one of which was outlasted by a lettuce -, an English football team actually being able to win something and, arguably most importantly, 8 Taylor Swift albums. Essentially, in the world that we live in today, we are constantly being impacted by the movies we watch, the books we read, the people we follow or know, the places we go to and even the schools we attend. I may not have a specific story, but I can say for certain that, having been at Sutton Valence for 11 years in total, this place and the people in it have had a huge impact on me.
At this school there are a number of big milestones you can achieve. GCSEs, A Levels, your first time representing a school sports team, your first concert, your first production. Each moment plays an important part in the person you will become here.
The music school has been my chosen place of refuge for the last 7 years and I couldn’t recommend the experience more. Perhaps the most impactful lesson to be learnt from performing so regularly is confidence, which is a skill I’m definitely still perfecting – as my shaky hands can tell you. But it is the constant faith that the music teachers have in us that allows us to overcome our nerves and, after almost seven years of endurance, I’m here to tell you that it gets a little bit easier every single time.
Drama has been another defining area for me. Whereas in the music school it is the faith that the teachers have in you that is most impactful, in drama what’s important is the faith that you and your peers have in each other. No matter the size of a part in a production, everyone is a member of one big team. Whether it be singing ABBA and the Moana soundtrack obnoxiously loudly in the changing rooms or silently signalling to each other across the wings, the whole process is one big bonding experience, bringing you closer to a potentially unlikely group of friends.
I must admit I’m not particularly gifted in the field of sport, I think Captain of E team netball speaks for itself, and, although most of my contributions to the sport itself have been chatting to Mr Harrison whilst on the pitch, I do believe that the experience is another area that has taught me the importance of teamwork. As a person with very little sporting prowess, even I can confidently say that being involved in a sports team can have an enormous impact on the way in which you interact with others and your ability to delegate as a leader.
One thing I do know that all of these things have in common, and one of the things that makes the school so special to me, is the way in which we interact as different year groups. Whether it’s in a concert, on the sports field, in a production or underneath a CCF basher, it doesn’t matter if you’re a junior, third form, fifth form or upper sixth, you’re all in it together, working towards a common goal. This offers younger years the chance to learn from those above and older years the chance to be a role model for those below. The impact that we as pupils have on each other cannot be understated, and if I had one piece of advice it would be to engage with all those around you, you never know what you could learn.
But amidst all these relationships, activities, and lessons that we have access to here, we have our everyday school lives, where there are small moments of laughter or tears and, in my experience, it is often these that come together to have the biggest impact. It may be the having a chat in the music school and feeling obliged to laugh at Mr Holmes and Mr Horley’s jokes or eating cake in history or having everyone celebrate the moment that you finally get the ball over the net in tennis or just making it to 5 in the bleep test without collapsing.
Don’t forget to appreciate those moments too. You might just find that you feel their impact without even realising it.
And lastly, to my friends, if you think this speech has become a bit of a cliché, I would say sorry but what can I say, I was impacted by all the Heads of School that came before me.
On that note, following in their tradition, I’ll end with a quote.
“The world is not only happening to you, but you are happening to the world. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride”.
So, make the most of this next year, enjoy it, do everything the school has to offer, feel its influence, but most importantly; make your own impact.
Thank you for listening.
Good afternoon school,
I know you are all looking forward to exeat so I shall keep this short and sweet.
I would first like to thank Mr Farrell, Mr Thomas and all the other teachers, for choosing me to be head boy, Furthermore I would like to congratulate Sophie on head girl, I don’t believe that there is anyone more deserving of the role.
I would also like to make a special mention to Dan and Chadwick for warming up our seats and setting an excellent example for us to follow.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Sam, I’ve been at the school for over a decade starting in nursery and working my way up to where I am now standing before you.
I have never enjoyed giving speeches, not due to the nerves but more due to my lacking English ability especially in reading so if I have any slip ups blame it on the dyslexia.
Many of us have different areas in school in which we excel, for some it may be academic success and for others, of the more dramatic type, it may be performing in the theatre, however for me it has always been sport.
Throughout my journey at SV Sport has given me something that nothing else could. It has given me an escape from stress and an outlet to excel in my own area.
For that I will always be grateful, for me the best part of the game is the opportunity to play, and sport has certainly made Saturday school bearabl
In a typical Head Boy speech, no one ever mentions the challenges in school, it is always described as a perfect school life.
However, I think it’s worth saying that not every moment in school is going to go well and there are many challenges that you will have to face: flunking a test, missing a goal, or just getting up in the morning.
I believe that these challenges can be character building, hopefully helping us become more resilient and bounce back in a stronger way than before.
With some of the challenges that I have faced the teachers at SV have certainly helped me, especially after my GCSEs that didn’t go as planned and a level choice were changed for the better, thank God that I did badly in Physics!
With all the many challenges that you face during your time at school, I urge you not to dwell on them but to think over the brilliant times that you have had.
Great memories for me have been going to the semi finals for hockey or just having a big game of football with my mates.
I cannot thank the school enough for the support that they provide, the countless opportunities that we get to explore, and the guidance given to us from the teachers.
They have helped me so much throughout my academic school life from setting up clinics, to helping me rethink a level choice and steering me in the correct direction, so I encourage you all to look to the school if you any issues, as help at SVS will always be given when asked.
To end in tradition, I shall finish with a quote, it needs time, nobody wants to hear it, but its true: if you want to have success in the future, you have to be ready to work now. Jurgen Klopp
Thank you everyone for listening I hope I didn’t drag on too long with the pages and pages I wrote but have a good exeat.