Monday, July 30, 2012

Class of 2012: Home Truths

Tonight - Touch The Sky
Each year another set of Year 13 students steps beyond the castle walls and escapes to university to begin Life After School. Each year group likes to think that they will be remembered fondly in teachers hearts and minds. Truthfully, year groups have a tendency to blur into one another. This article is not only to acknowledge the boys, but also to take the chance to deliver a few Home Truths...

Firstly, every year when The Leavers are planning their ritualistic Last Day of Practical Jokes, they think that the ideas they come up with are truly original. Home Truth Number One: they're probably not. Moving rooms and equipment around are to be expected; water pistols teachers have been there, done that.

However, this year the banner was wholly unexpected - charming, humorous and excruciatingly painful to read. It was also very memorable. With the picture taken by 5* the willing participants with big smiles were: 3, 19, 20, 14, 16, 26, 18, 9, 23, 2, 12, 1 and 6. Head Boy (15) was meant to be in the picture but was asked to help with the new Head Boy interviewees and couldn't be there.

This leads to Home Truth Number Two: teachers all remember something about each year group; we just have to think a little to recall it. Perhaps the banner may not be all that we remember from this year group: 10 and 24's unfailingly attractive dress sense (lacking in Top Buttons), 11, 13 and 4's unique intellectual banter, will also be remembered.

Part of the reason we have to think a little before we can recall particular year groups is because of Home Truth Number Three: every year, roles repeat themselves. It's as if there are certain archetypes individuals must conform to within a group of Leavers. Every year there are variations on a cast of characters: the funny one (19), the creative one (25) the dark horse (8 and 7), the sensible one (15), the one-who-is-always-there (22), the wild one (23), the sleepy one (17), the could-try-harder one (1) and the don’t-mess-with one (21).

Bonjour!
Maturity encompasses Home Truth Number Four: in their hearts, Leavers are ready to move on - whether they realise it or not. Our annual occasion is the formal recognition of this. This year was no exception as Teachers and Leavers exchanged anecdotes about starting in Year Seven, how they have grown into young men and their hopes, aspirations and dreams – all whilst sipping alcoholic beverages on the Thames. (Photographic evidence can be found in this video presentation).

The final Home Truth is that experiences at school do not happen in isolation. Leavers (and Teachers) cannot single out one story to capture their time at Our School. The boys take from Our School a collection of friends, various incidents, conversations and (life) lessons, remembered forever, that are a strong foundation for later years.

In a similar way, it’s not one single teacher that creates the unique familial atmosphere at Our School: it’s the whole community of teachers that make a contribution to a leaving year group. This year’s Leavers understand, appreciate and embody this. Moving on to the experiences of university and Life After School, we can be sure they have enjoyed their time at Our School and made the most of it. They move on with our best wishes for the futures they will create.
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*Names have become numbers to protect the innocent (and hide the guilty).