Tuesday, 1 November 2011

City of London School Prize day

I was trying to think back to my own school days – there were a few prizes and they were generally given out at the last assembly of the year in front of the school, no parents to glow with satisfaction. Yesterday’s prize-giving was an altogether different matter.I was delighted to represent the Needlemakers Company at this annual distribution of prizes which takes place in the Guildhall and the prizes are given out by the Lord Mayor. Unfortunately I couldn’t meet our prize-winner as he was not able to attend. (A number of boys who left the school at the end of the academic year were not there to receive their prizes.)

One would expect this to be a very impressive ceremony held in the Guildhall with the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and all accompanying officers in full regalia – and it was. But more impressive was the composure of the boys and the record of success that the school has. The boys come from a wide range of backgrounds – I believe that over forty countries of origin are represented – but all striving for excellence. Clearly this is an independent fee-paying school but there are also a number of full scholarships awarded each year to draw in bright boys from less privileged backgrounds.

The Head of School, Nicholas Hulbert, made an excellent speech in praise of the founder, John Carpenter. The Lord Mayor commented that of the many hundred speeches he has heard this year this was one of the best. Oh, to have that confidence and poise at such a young age! I suspect that young man is destined for great things.

I think that our Lord Mayor will have set some kind of new record for the number of speeches he will have made this year – well over 900 and he is as enthusiastic as ever.

The afternoon concluded with a beautiful series of Hebrew love songs sung by the school choir. An unexpected and unusual choice skilfully rendered.

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