NWHS Prizegiving 2017 speakers sm 2

North Walsham’s Class Of 2017 Returns To School To Celebrate Outstanding Achievements

Posted on: 19th November 2017

A year group of students which delivered a 15 per cent increase in GCSE results this summer has returned to North Walsham High School for their achievements to be recognised at a special Awards Evening.

Last year’s Year 11 students, watched by parents, families and friends, received their GCSE certificates during the ceremony in the school’s Atrium – after delivering a 15 per cent improvement in the key pass rate in English and maths compared with the previous year’s cohort.

Twenty-eight prizes were also awarded for excellence and outstanding progress in individual subjects, with the trophies being handed over by the subject teachers themselves.

Joint winners of the Headteacher Award for Academic Excellence were Mariusz Lizinski and Clara Lynch, while the Deputy Headteacher Award for Most Improved Student was carried off by Meredith Bonham.  The Chair of Governors award for Greatest Contribution to NWHS Ethos and Values went to Summer Waugh.

The former students heard from two guest speakers: Chris Lee, himself a former NWHS student, who now serves in the prestigious 7th Squadron of the RAF, whose role is to support special forces; and Emily Jupp, creator of the famous Milly J Shoes brand, and a current student mentor at the school.

Mr Lee outlined his story since leaving NWHS in 1999, a path which has not always run smoothly – and urged the young people to get ready to face challenges and setbacks.

“Be ready to deal with failure or rejection,” he told the audience.  “I’ve learned a couple of times over my career that it can sometimes open new doors to different opportunities.”

He also urged the former students to widen their horizons beyond north Walsham and Norfolk.  “Be a citizen of the world.  We need more world-aware people as things get more isolationist and populist.  Try to see something of the world outside your culture before you settle down.”

Emily Jupp also told a tale of perseverance and overcoming obstacles.  Abandoned on a bus in Jamaica as a baby, she was adopted by a British family and ended up as a professional actress and singer before starting Milly J Shoes, which creates handmade shoes, including for celebrities such as Kylie Minogue.

“There is nothing outstanding about me.  I am, like you, a bundle of ideas and experiences,” she said.  “I had to dig deep and to grab what may not at the time have seemed like an opportunity.  But by challenging stereotypes, I have succeeded against the odds.  I hope you will find a way to do so too in your lives.”

North Walsham High School head teacher Neil Powell combined his own military experiences with lessons borrowed from a Texas University speech by Admiral Stanley McRaven, telling the former students that ‘what starts here changes the world’.

“You as a group of young people are about to start to change the lives of a new group of people.  It will not be easy.

“But if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift the down-trodden and never, ever give up – if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.

“And what started here this year will indeed have changed the world – for better.”

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