Lessons in success at Wallace’s Senior Prize Day

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It was an afternoon which saw sectarianism in schools roundly condemned, Stormont’s absentees urged to get to work and Scrooge transformed to Santa with Oliver Heath starring as both iconic figures! Guest speaker, former pupil Stuart Deignan, described himself as “a moderately well-adjusted individual” and delivered a speech as witty as it was wise. Using his own quarter century of “Life after Wallace” as his source material Stuart (by way of tales of failed careers in Politics and Chemistry, meeting Presidents and searching for documents in skips) suggested three key lessons: firstly, mistakes shape you; secondly, you don’t regret adventures; finally, as Wallace pupils, step forward into the world with confidence! Noting the place Wallace had played in his own family’s history, Stuart also evoked the wider values of our distinguished philanthropic founder noting that a great part of Sir Richard’s success was the impact he made on others; he also endeared himself to the teaching staff by asserting “your education is the most important thing you possess” and “the education you’ve received at Wallace is world-class.” 

Wallace’s Chair of the Board of Governors Mrs Sandra McCabe brought her own inimitably warm  style of delivery to her remarks; she urged pupils to remember that they possess “strength, resilience and capability” and that success is achieving “whatever you set your heart on” rather than what others dictate. Mrs McCabe also reminded the pupils to “always be kind” a theme which also resonated through the Principal’s speech.

As is customary, the Principal outlined the many and varied successes of the Wallace family throughout the previous academic year. She highlighted the superb record-breaking academic achievements of the A2 students (88% of students gained 3+ A*-C)  ; she also noted the individual students named in the CCEA rankings (Megan Henry, Anna Trimble, Erin Bailie and Katie Rocks in A2 Chemistry and Mathematics, GCSE Art and Journalism) and highlighted the 12A* grades achieved at GCSE by Aisling Gardiner and Georgia Nicolls and the Oxbridge places gained by Kirsty Dawson and Julie Yeow. Wallace’s status in the use of Digital Technology was also heralded when we were named as one of the Edtech 50 schools in the UK at a ceremony in the Palace of Westminster. It wasn’t all praise as Mrs O’Hare had some stern words for our politicians:

“Stormont needs to be up and running once more, but this time functioning without sectarian squabbles, focused on the business of looking after our young people, funding schools adequately, making difficult decisions about empty seats in classrooms based on the greater good, not along sectarian or other lines.”  

Much warmer words were directed towards our 2018 leavers as the audience was reminded of the talent which sat before them:

“We should be very proud of our Wallace Men and our Wallace Women who leave this school ready for the world of undergraduate study, ready to be active contributors to the economy, caring members of our community and shining a very bright light for this very fine school with their “can do” attitude.” 

Congratulations and thanks are due to Miss Pascoe and Mr Falconer for the delightful musical items and to Senior Teacher Mr Jonathan Reid and his team for the impeccably smooth running of the event.

Last modified: April 26, 2021