Events & Speakers | Posted 08.05.2014

Charlotte and Diego pay tribute

Heads of the Lines’ Great Academies Speeches

Charlotte Redmond

When I arrived at Stonyhurst in 2008 I barely had the confidence to answer a question in class. I know that many of my fellow Rhetoricians wouldn’t actually remember me in Lower Grammar [year 9]; I was small and not exactly talkative.

But it’s not easy to be shy at Stonyhurst. It’s not a place where you can hide away and be forgotten. I may still be small, but it’s thanks to all the people I have met in the time I’ve spent here, that I can stand up here today and tell a room full of people how brilliant the past few years have been.

It’s the people at Stonyhurst who really make it special. I’d like to say a huge thank you on behalf of Rhetoric [year 13] to our teachers. You are the ones who keep us going through our exams and encourage us to really do our best.

Another huge thank you should go to our Headmaster, Mr Johnson, and all the pastoral staff. You make Stonyhurst feel like home to a lot of us, which is really important even now when we feel all grown up in Rhetoric.

Stonyhurst as a place is something quite extraordinary. Aside from my first day when I arrived down the avenue I have never really stopped to appreciate the fact that we all go to school every day in a Grade I listed building; not many people can say that. So I would like to thank all the domestic staff and the maintenance staff for keeping our school in such good shape for us.

All the opportunities that we have had at Stonyhurst have been opened to us not only by our teachers, but by our parents. I won’t say that Rhetoric takes for granted that they are here because I know the sacrifices that some families have made to send their children to Stonyhurst. So I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you, on behalf of Rhetoric, to all of our parents. You have been supporting us, encouraging us and keeping us on track for 18 years now, so thank you so much for your dedication.

To all the students in Lowerline [years 9, 10 and 11], I know you probably hear this all the time, but please don’t wish your time at Stonyhurst away.

I would urge you to grasp the opportunities you have here with both hands. Do everything you can to fill your time with music, sport, volunteering and fun.

To Lower Grammar especially, you have no idea what the future at Stonyhurst holds for you; I can only assure you that it will be the best time of your life, so don’t waste a single moment.

I still remember the Head of the Line’s address to me 5 years ago and I wish I could go back to that moment now and cherish every day I’ve had at Stonyhurst. You will forge friendships here that will last a lifetime, so stick together as a playroom and spend time with each other.

To Poetry [year 12], now it’s your turn! Whether this is the end of your first year, your fourth year, or your tenth year at Stonyhurst, you can’t deny that your Rhetoric year is the one you have been waiting for.

I know the feeling of just wanting to get to university; I had it myself a few months ago. But next year, when you are in my place, I guarantee you will be shocked by how quickly your year has gone, so make the most of it. I wish you good luck in your exams, your university applications, and your final year at Stonyhurst.

And to my fellow Rhetoricians; I know some of you are just about ready to fly the nest. I know a few of you who don’t feel ready yet. And I also know a few of you who just can’t wait to get out of here. Well, this is how I see it:

There are at least 3 future doctors whom I would gladly trust with my life.

There are lawyers and economists ready to take on our challenging and ever-changing world.

There are scientists and engineers going on to discover and create.

There are philosophers and linguists, entrepreneurs and journalists, and last but not least, politicians!

And altogether there are 85 individuals ready to move on and change the lives of others for the better.

As a playroom we have grown close over the years we have been together. I couldn’t separate those who joined us in Poetry [year 12] from those who came to the College from St Mary’s Hall 5 years ago.Together we have experienced brilliant happiness, but we have also shared incredible pain.

There are those who cannot be here with us today, namely the inspirational teachers and friends that we have lost; Brian Hodgson, Simon Waterhouse, and Nicholas Chen.

I remember Brian Hodgson as a man who believed in us as a playroom and really worked with us as individuals making us who we are today.

I remember Simon Waterhouse as the most upbeat, joyful person; he was always smiling and full of life.

And I remember Nicholas Chen. He was fiercely loyal as a friend and someone who brought happiness to every walk of life.

Every Stonyhurst student hears the words ‘men and women for others’ pretty much every day from Lower Grammar to Rhetoric, which is approximately 1000 times (and yes, to reach that figure I did in fact calculate the number of days I’ve spent here in five years!).

Now, one would hope that over all those days of hearing those words, it might have sunk in a little bit. Well, for Rhetoric I believe it has.

We worked together to pull off a hugely successful Poetry Banquet, full of new ideas and enthusiasm to ensure that the Stonyhurst Children’s Holiday week could be a real highlight in the lives of those children who really need our care.

At Rhetoric Fayre 2012, we raised enough money to make sure that the Ray of Light Children’s Centre in Zimbabwe could continue its work supporting the most vulnerable children.

And most recently at our Learning to Care Dinner we raised the funds to install a running water supply for a really special education project in Zanzibar.

Through achieving all of this I know that we have made some serious progress in becoming the ‘men and women for others’ that our teachers have been preaching about.

I won’t lie and tell you that I remember every day I’ve spent at Stonyhurst; most of you know that my memory is pretty terrible. But what really stands out about my time here is the laughter.

We’ve laughed with each other and we’ve laughed at each other. And by that I mean that we have all taken our fair share of banter over the years!

So my final thank you is to you, Rhetoric 2013. Thank you for 5 years of true happiness, it’s been unforgettable.

All I have left to say is that I wish you the best of luck in your exams and your future.

It has truly been a privilege to know you.

Diego Ordonez Hererra

Reverend Fathers, ladies and gentlemen, fellow students.

We, the class of Rhetoric 13, have certainly made our mark, setting an example for the rest of the school of which I am very proud and it has been an honour for me to be your Head of Line. We have had our ups and downs through our Stonyhurst careers but what makes us strong is our sense of unity and acting together as a year group.

This is a wonderful event but quite possibly it will be the last time we will ever be all together again. Scary thought isn’t it? Everyone will follow different paths and inevitably we will lose contact. This would sadden most of us, but we must also realize it is time to move on. Our time at Stonyhurst has been incredible and special because we have an expiry date and it is now that we realize how lucky we were to have met each other during our time here.

When I came to Stonyhurst, the person who inspired me the most was Mr. Brian Hodgson, our Syntax [year 11] Playroom Master who sadly passed away. He was a great person who truly reflected the Stonyhurst way of living in everything that he did and I am most grateful to him for all the help and support he gave me during my first year at the College. I remember he would invite me to his office every now and then to try to persuade me to stay at Stonyhurst, because I was actually only meant to come for a year and then go back home. He also told me he had the feeling I would be Head Boy if I stayed and so it has been; I am still amazed he turned out to be right. So I would like to dedicate this to him as well because I am sure he is somewhere up there watching us right now.

This College is without any doubt second to none and a place we can always call home. The range of opportunities we have here is limitless and everyone has the chance to excel at something, be it art, music, sport- you name it. This has developed us and made us grow in many ways so that we can now be ready to progress in our learning about life. (At least, most of us!!)

Being the international school it is we have the privilege of living day by day with people from different nationalities which has enriched our culture and most of us can now swear fluently in a multitude of different languages!

We have had some very good times in the boarding house, moments we will never forget. THIS YEAR has been incredible and we will even miss the fantastic speed of the school’s internet and the lovely fire alarm at 2 in the morning with the joys of an exam the following day.

We would like to thank the teachers for all their effort and the passion they show for their subjects. They have been an enormous help during our time here and although we do not always make our appreciation apparent it is still there.

To the cleaning and catering staff; we would like to thank you for being the ones who make our lives so much easier and also for making Stonyhurst a better place.

To all our parents, our time here has only been possible because of the sacrifices you have made. We thank you for this gift and for all the support you have given us during our time here.

We would like to thank our tutors – for me personally, Mr Morley – who have given us much help and advice during these past 2 years. It has been greatly appreciated.

Finally to Mr McGinnis, our Playroom Master. Whilst we realize that we are not always easy to deal with, and at times we have been positively dreadful, you have worked tirelessly to help us become the men and women we are today.

To the rest of the school, but especially to Poetry. Your time at Stonyhurst is coming to an end. I do not want to sound too negative but it is true. Very soon you will all be celebrating this very ceremony and saying goodbye to each other and the College. Make sure you make the most of your time left here and that you give thanks every day for the friends you have, and for all the opportunities you are given. Carpe Diem, or seize the moment, is the best advice I can give you, so use your time wisely and have no regrets.

To Rhetoric’13:

This year has been very special, thanks to every single one of you. Now that we are here at our last official event, I would like to wish you the best of luck in everything that you do. After our time here we can be most confident that we have the necessary foundations to continue along the paths we choose.

Tonight, the Leavers’ Ball is the culmination of all these years together so let’s make it unforgettable. Thank you for making my 3 years at Stony 3 wonderful years.