Mr Ilyas Khan, Guest of Honour, presents the prizes
Bradley Goss, Mr Johnson, Mr Khan and Lara Schitto
Principal Celebrant: Fr Adrian Porter SJ
Schola Cantorum – A Concert of English Choral Music in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
The programme included Harris’ anthem Faire is the Heaven and Handel’s Zadok the Priest.
Drama production: Jason and the Argonauts written by Kerry Frampton and Mal Smith
Drama Workshop participants entertained a large and expectant audience at Friday night's Great Academies with an action-packed romp through the epic tale of 'Jason and the Argonauts'. Using no props and minimal set, the inventive, physical and tongue-in-cheek approach delighted a very appreciative crowd. The cast are to be congratulated for their energy, commitment and sheer skill in so successfully fulfilling a mammoth task in a very short amount of time!
Director - Johanna Egar
Parents v Pupils Golf Match (Parents won)
Tug of War
Staff and pupils battled it out to raise funds for a mission in Peru this summer which will build a church, distribute food and hold parties and sports' activities for children living in remote mountain villages.
Headmaster’s Great Academies Speech: 2nd June 2012
There is no such thing as an ordinary year, but 2012 is certainly no ordinary year. This is an Olympic year, and it’s only a few weeks now until the games begin. It is also the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ... so quite a heady mixture of celebration and national pride.
On the one hand, the Olympics represent a celebration of what we have: sporting talent at its peak of excellence; an impressive new stadium; Great Britain as it is now: our culture and our heritage. A Jubilee, on the other hand, is more retrospective, looking back over Queen Elizabeth’s 60 year reign, causing us all to reflect on our own lives over those years (however many of them we’ve been around for). And what of the future? Well that’s anyone’s guess ... we live in a chaotic and uncertain world.
The Olympics were last held in this country in 1908 and in 1948. So, what might have been said at Great Academies in the last two Olympic years, 104 and 54 years ago respectively? In 1908, Edwardian England still felt invincible and indefatigable: Proud, Strong, Confident, Britain still ruled the waves. The Rector of Stonyhurst, Fr Bodkin, will have announced at Great Academies, (in this very place), certain new developments:
- Stonyhurst was connected to the telephone system for the first time in 1908
- His Holiness the Pope bestowed a papal blessing on the College at the beginning of that year
- boys’ 5 o’clock tea had been upgraded from bread and milk to tea and cake. With napkins.
- Hockey was introduced in 1908, as an alternative to Association Football.
(Some people here may, in fact, be horrified to hear that in 1908 Stonyhurst did not yet play rugby!)
- And the rise of the motor car had dispensed with the need for a resident doctor. His house, Higher Jud Falls, was turned into a Sanatorium for infectious diseases, to contain outbreaks of diphtheria and scarlet fever... (Higher Jud Falls is now where the deputy headmaster lives – with all those diseases lurking, no wonder Mr Gordon Brown’s moving on to Truro!).
Edwardian England seemed unassailable in 1908. And yet, within a few years, the Titanic had sunk and the Great War had begun – leading to the greatest ever loss of human life in British military history, and changing the world forever.
40 years later in 1948 Britain hosted the Olympics for the second time. And, at Stonyhurst in that year:
- The names of 99 OS who were killed in action during World War 2 were added to the War Memorial
- Fr Swindells, the then Rector, probably didn’t report at Great Academies, however, the schoolboy prank which got Stonyhurst into the national press that year:
The gatehouse clock was ‘rigged’ by one Miles Kennedy, so that it would strike 12 every hour: he did this by jamming the mechanism with a bed spring. The boys went wild with excitement at this and there was a riot, which caused the residents of Hurst Green to wonder what on earth was going on, and the story was reported in the Sunday Express. But the foolish boy in question had not reckoned on the forensic powers of the Jesuits: using a spring from his own bed led to his discovery, and to the classic punishment: twice nine, or in other words, 18 lashes of the ferula. Miles Kennedy died only this year at the age of 80, and we can only wonder if he told his children and grandchildren about his Stonyhurst days and his notoriety. As for sport in 1948, Mr Charles will be pleased to know that by then rugby was firmly established.
And what of the Queens’ coronation, only five years later? Well, the Stonyhurst boys were given a 3 day holiday. We, on the other hand, are now about to get an 8 day half term – so there’s progress for you!
Looking back at 1908 and 1948, the 2 Olympic years, we can see how the world changed over 40 years. But it’s also clear for anyone to see how the pace of world change has increased exponentially since then, especially over the last 20 years, with the internet, the digital world and globalisation. But the shifts of the last few years, with the global financial crisis and all its attendant problems, present new challenges: the celebrations of 2012 are being played out against a backdrop of enormous financial and political instability. As I said, we live in a chaotic and uncertain world, where competition for university places and for employment is greater than ever – especially for the young people of this generation.
... And so it’s all the more important that our pupils should be flexible, adaptable and creative. If they are going to succeed in their chosen careers, this generation need to be equipped to face uncertainties – to find their place in a world which is very different from the one we, their parents, experienced when we were their age.
Almost 2500 years ago, at the time of the ancient Greek Olympics, Aristotle insisted on the duty of every citizen to be a participator in community life, and said we should not be “solitary pieces in a game of chess.” Stonyhurst is certainly a vibrant community, with a strong sense of its own identity, but also with a global reach – our pupils, past and present, come from all over the country and from all over the world. We’re already recognised as a high quality British boarding school, and we aim to enhance further our international reputation as a world-class Jesuit Catholic institution.
There are 2 important ways we are doing this. The first is by establishing significant overseas/international partnerships, both in the west and in the far east.
- This year we have linked up with schools in China’s Hebei province, where some of our pupils will volunteer as English teachers this summer.
- And we are setting up an exchange with Wah Yan College, the Jesuit school in Hong Kong. Hence, in the autumn, Big Band’s will go on tour to Hong Kong and Southern China.
- And we are also keen to rekindle our historic links with some of the top US Jesuit and Catholic universities and colleges.
- We hope that such links will be of benefit to our students who may be considering higher education in the US
The second way we are enhancing our position within the international Jesuit world is with the introduction of the International Baccalaureate. We’re well on the way with our plans to offer this new qualification alongside A levels, starting with Poets in 2013. The IB’s educational approach is strikingly compatible with the aims of Jesuit education and with our mission at Stonyhurst. Its breadth and academic rigour cultivate intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and effective communication. More than this, its stated aims are to develop principled, compassionate people of service, who are open to new ideas and have a courageous approach to change. Indeed, We are confident that the IB will inform the learning culture throughout Stonyhurst, from the Creative Curriculum at Hodder House to GCSE and Higher Line at the College. And we are already applying an IB-inspired Stonyhurst Learner Profile, not least because it supports our aim to encourage pupils to think for themselves and to reflect upon their own learning.
So, what shape is Stonyhurst in in 2012, compared with the previous two Olympic years? Well, we’re still connected to the telephone system, but there are no cases of diphtheria to report.
Stonyhurst has this year received another Papal Blessing, this time presented by the Papal Nuncio himself, on Campion Day. And we have seen the introduction of another new sport (and think how our 1908 forbears would respond to this....) girls’ football! It’s now not only the boys who play association football – some will remember Fr Twist’s sermon earlier this year when the girls played their first match, and he predicted the end of the world as we know it.... We’ve also moved on from tea and cake with the opening of our new refectory next January - Stonyhurst’s 3rd dining room in our 218 years in Lancashire
Whist we’re adding fine new buildings, we’re also taking care of the old: St Peter’s Church has reopened after its year-long refurbishment, generously funded by the Jesuits who built it in 1832. The reopening Mass in January was a wonderful occasion of reunion, celebration, & optimism – connecting us to the aspirations and vision of the Victorian Jesuits, who sought the finest craftsmen for their beautiful church. It was one of the first churches to be built after the Catholic Emancipation and was a great expression of Catholic confidence for the future.
We continue at Stonyhurst to have great confidence in our future. Schools are naturally places of optimism, and those of us who work in them are privileged to witness and support the progress of our pupils on a daily basis. Stonyhurst enjoyed another very good set of exam results last August and in December 4 of our pupils were offered places at Oxford.
Curriculum changes planned for next year will further enhance our ever-improving academic performance. In addition to the IB we are offering the Extended Project Qualification in Higher Line to be taken alongside A levels – it’s an extended research based essay, which will introduce Rhetoricians to university-level work, and is highly regarded by university admissions tutors. The school day is to be re-structured from September to give longer lessons – as requested by the overwhelming majority of our teachers - and there will also be more time for independent study.
On the sports field … in Rugby a record 3 College teams played through to the Finals of the Lancashire Cup - 2 of them winning the trophy. And we have just been named ‘Lancashire Rugby School of the Year’ - not just because of our notable success in this year’s Lancashire Cup, but also for the contribution and commitment to schools’ rugby we show, in our 7s tournament for example, and the wide range of teams we field week after week. I congratulate all the staff and pupils who have contributed to this excellent achievement. Girls sport, after a 9 day hockey tour to Portugal last summer, had a strong start to the year when we hosted the HMC North West Hockey and Netball tournament for the first time– 32 teams from schools across the North took part in an excellent day of hockey and netball. And our own U15 netball team won their tournament. And we’re particularly well represented in girls’ sport at county level this year too.
The arts continue to flourish: we enjoyed another outstanding production last December: ‘The Sound of Music’ – the newly renovated Academy Room was alive with the sound of singing nuns, von Trapp children and a Maria to rival Julie Andrews! You can’t have failed to notice how much dance is going on at the College at the moment: (now they have their own studio, there’s no stopping them.) I was pleased to attend an excellent show last Saturday, featuring dancers aged 3 to 18 … and it was particularly pleasing to see the Rhetorician girls working with and supporting the youngest dancers – that generous support of others is one of the hallmarks of Stonyhurst. Our musicians have acquired a taste for going on tour: in March the Schola Cantorum went to Paris, where their singing received a burst of applause in Notre Dame Cathedral after Mass! After the City of Light came Blackburn and evensong in the Cathedral, and they will be singing in the Ribchester Festival later this month. The Brass Ensemble went on tour to Cardiff at Easter, and gave a concert in the Millenium Centre. And Big Band, not to be outdone, are off to Hong Kong and China in the autumn, as I’ve already mentioned.
Some artefacts from the Stonyhurst Collections will be included in the British Museum’s exhibition Shakespeare: staging the world, which opens on July 19th. Stonyhurst’s First Folio, printed in 1623, is one of the items on loan. And, more gorily - the right eye of Blessed Edward Oldcorne, who was martyred in 1606 – will be there, as a graphic reminder of the price paid for their faith by Catholic at that time.
From our historic collections to the CCF.... This year the Cadet Force is the biggest it has ever been since 1912, with over 200 cadets. I was particularly pleased that when children from the Faith Primary School, Everton, came to stay last week, some of our NCOs helped out by devising and running a series of team-building challenges for them. Another recent and different example of our pupils engaged in service to others.
Nor has spiritual enrichment been in short supply this year … As ever, there has been a range of talks throughout the year given by inspiring people. Baroness Cox visited and told us all about the work of her humanitarian aid charity HART, and her many visits to those parts of thre world overshadowed by persecution: places like South Sudan, Burma, Uganda and Azerbaijan. She left us with the thought that “We cannot do everything but we must do something.” to accept the risk of discipleship. Professor Hilmers – the inspirational astronaut, scientist and humanitarian told us to “Do our best for God and make the most of our gifts and talents”
There has continued to be a great deal of charitable endeavour by our pupils. The Poetry Banquet was as successful as ever, and this year we had another excellent fashion show, put on this time by Anastasia Andrew and Kate Erskine in aid of Smile Ghana. Stonyhurst’s Chaplains and the Chaplaincy team do a wonderful job providing our young people with opportunities for reflection and spiritual development, such as the Flame conference in London, the weeks of guided prayer, and our annual programme of retreats.
The notion of formation, in its fullest sense, is the key to the education we offer … everybody here has a terrific range of gifts, so our aim is to get every single pupil to see themselves as gifted, unique in the eyes of God, and able to make a uniquely valuable contribution to society. And we want to form our young people to develop conscience, creativity, resilience, determination and integrity.... as well as succeeding in their exams! This is the best possible preparation they could have for the challenges of the future, in chaotic and uncertain times.
Of course none of the above is achieved without excellent teaching and outstanding pastoral care. We owe a great deal to the fine teachers we have here.
A few of our staff are leaving us this year:
Miss Lauren Ellis, who coaches girls’ games, and supports the girls in the higher line girls house, has been with us for 2 years. She leaves us to take up a teaching post in Leighton Buzzard.
Mrs Andrea Goodall, our HL girls housemistress will be much missed.....She leaves us for the post of Deputy Head of Boarding at New Hall School in Essex. She heads south with her husband, Andy, who has helped out here with CCF, D of E, and outdoor pursuits, and we wish them both, and their two sons bon voyage and much success for the future.
Mr John Ketchell joined us in 2005 having retired from the post of Assistant Principal at Settle College, and we have been fortunate to have had the benefit in the Maths dept for the last 7 years of expertise and his years of experience. He is now retiring for a second time, and leaves us with our very best wishes.
Mr Henning Kaaber, Head of PE and much-loved rugby and cricket coach, has been at Stonyhurst inspiring boys in their sport since the millennium. After 12 years at Stonyhurst, he is now going to take up the post of Director of Sport at Worth. (Missionary work with the Benedictines, perhaps) and we wish him every success
Mr Gordon-Brown, the Deputy Headmaster, will not be leaving us until December, but when he does go, to take up his new job as Headmaster of Truro School, he will leave with our warmest congratulations and our deepest thanks for the tremendous contribution he will have made to Stonyhurst over 5 ½ years.
Mr Simon Andrews has been teaching at Stonyhurst for an incredibly impressive 40 years. And if you think that’s a long time at the College, he was also a boy here. Having been at Winterfold House, Mr Andrews spent 6 years as a pupil at Stonyhurst. While on the staff, as well as teaching Chemistry, he has had a number of senior responsibilities, including as Grammar and Syntax Playroom Master, as Assistant Headmaster and, for many years, as Director of Studies. In 1992, Mr Andrews did an exchange with a teacher from Xavier College Melbourne, which is perhaps not surprising, as I know he and Barbara love travelling. Indeed, he tells me he will be beginning his retirement with a holiday in California in September. Please join me now in congratulating Mr Andrews on his absolutely tremendous contribution to Stonyhurst over 40 years.
And so what can I say to our Rhetoricians who will be leaving us very soon now? Whilst I have painted a picture of a world which is chaotic and uncertain, I haven’t meant to alarm you. In difficult times, when people are up against it, they start to re-examine their priorities, and to turn away from shallow materialism to something which is deeper and has more meaning Your education has prepared you to have solid values, to be compassionate and to stand up for what you believe in. Especially just now, it seems to me that the world really needs people like you, to help make some sense of the mess. I wish every single one of you well, and urge you to take something of the Spirit of Stonyhurst with you to the next stage of your life
And so, in this Jubilee year, let us commemorate the past, celebrate what we have and, even in chaotic and uncertain times, look forward with confidence and optimism to the possibilities of the future.