The Sunday Times Top 100 Independent Prep Schools in England: Seventh in England and First in the North West.
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Jul 14, 2021
Mr Duke’s Speech from Prize Giving
Well what a year we have had, Highfield! I am delighted to be able to stand in front of you all today and to celebrate our Year Six’s time at Highfield Priory School. There were times when we didn’t think we would be able to meet like this and we are still doing it in rather unusual circumstances but at least we are doing it! It is wonderful that technology can bring us together in this way so that no one is missing out. The Highfield community is stronger than ever and here today to say goodbye to our wonderful Class of 2021.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”. At Highfield, we have always been very proud of our success. Our exam results have placed us consistently in the top thirty of the 100 top Preparatory Schools in the country and for the last three years we have been in the top ten. This year, had the exams gone ahead, we are confident that we would have maintained this outstanding position. However, this year has highlighted so many other ways we can measure our success as individuals. Mandela is talking about strength in adversity, about resilience and about never giving up. We have all faced adversity this year in the form of Covid-19 and it has had serious ramifications across our school and wider community. What I would like to celebrate today is just how you have picked yourselves up, no matter how tough it has been, you have always shown resilience and not once has anyone given up. I am so proud of each and every one of you. This is a year I will never forget. Not because of the academic results you have achieved, but because, in the face of adversity, you continued to smile, to laugh and to bring joy into school with you each day. And that, is something I will never forget.
You may wonder why I have a giant strawberry sitting on the table in front of me. YOU are this giant strawberry, each one of you. George Reception –you’re a giant strawberry! Lily in Year 3, you’re a giant strawberry! Haaris in year 6, you’re a giant strawberry. This strawberry for me, represents the last 17 months. There have been times when we have been well and truly squished! When they told us all to go home and stay inside. When we cancelled our holidays. When we couldn’t hug our friends and relatives. When we had to send classes home. There have been times when we have all felt a bit like this – But in true Highfield fashion, it never took long to find our strength and to bounce right back.
Our pupils are going to share with you their squishy moments from this year. Starting with Reception, what have you found difficult to cope with this year?
Reception: I was sad that I couldn’t go to the zoo.
1D: I didn’t like only being able to see my friends through a screen.
2E: I have missed my football lessons.
2W: I didn’t like not being able to have a birthday party with my friends.
3D: I didn't like not being able to see our friends in other year groups and playing sport with other children.
3M: I didn’t like the fact that we couldn’t play with our friends from another bubble in the playground.
4J: We sometimes felt too embarrassed to talk on the computer.
5M: We didn’t like not being able to do some of our favourite activities like swimming, team sports and dance classes.
It is clear that it has not been easy for anyone but it is our ability to find the good in a difficult situation that really is a measure of our success.
Reception, what made you happy this year?
Reception: I liked reading with Mrs Bennett on Teams.
1D: I liked doing more chores and helping Mummy and Daddy at home.
2E: I enjoyed the quiet time where I could do more writing in my notebook.
2W: I liked our ICT lessons online –they were fun!
3D: Really liked being able to still do our favourite lessons like ICT and PE from home.
3M: We loved our Tune Tuesdays online. Mrs Morrice played us some songs from a different artist each week.
4J: I liked spending time with my dad in my lunch break.
5M: I made new friends as I came into school during lockdown and spent time with a different group of people.
Thank you children, once again you have put a smile on our faces as you show how you have found something to celebrate in the darkest of times. It is no accident that our school song is SHINE OUT!
Year Six, as you move on to the next stage of your lives, I would like to remind you of the importance of everything you have learned this year, not just academically, but how you have grown emotionally. Take the resilience you have shown this year and use it in your daily lives. There will be times when you get knocked down again, but remember, it is how many times you get back up again that really counts.
Buddha tells us that,
Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
Don’t let adversity ever hold you back. Face each day as a completely fresh start and give each day your very best. Good luck Year Six. Take your inner squashy strawberry with you and enjoy every moment at your new schools.
J M Duke