Virtual celebration for Senior Prize Day 2020
Covid-19 has played havoc with so many cherished traditions and our annual event, celebrating the success of our students at GCSE and A level, has been yet another gathering which has been reimagined online.
Wallace’s Principal, Mrs Deborah O’Hare, recorded her address framing it around the famous opening lines of A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens which details the seismic changes wrought by the French Revolution. The school year of 2019/20 was also a year of revolutionary change in our daily life as a school community as we moved to a virtual environment but in a year “full of hurdles” we also created a year “rich in success”. As is customary the Principal noted many of the highlights of the year and explored the devastating disappointment experienced by our 1stXV rugby squad when the showcase Saint Patrick’s day final was cancelled. Noting that our core values of Commitment, Opportunity, Respect and Excellence had never resonated more sharply the Principal offered the following advice to our senior students:
“We are living in a noisy world, not all that noise is useful. To our young people I advise that you can live a quiet, focused, valuable life of service in a noisy world”
and highlighted a change of emphasis for this Senior Prize Day:
“This year we do not recognise or celebrate in particular the results of any young person in a specific subject…this year, all our senior students deserve our praise.”
Wallace’s Chair of the Board of Governors also gave her customary Chairperson’s remarks. As the owner and Managing Director of Oasis Travel, Mrs Sandra McCabe knows more than most the devastating impact of the pandemic. As ever, she displayed the optimism and resilience which make her such an admirable embodiment of the Wallace spirit.
She began by thanking the pupils, parents, relatives and friends for their support in embracing the decisions the school needed to make whilst venturing through the unknown and noted that 2020 and Covid-19 have taught us three things:
First, your mind-set matters.
Second, we need each other, especially in a crisis.
Finally, being kind, consistently, serves you well.
Alluding to our school motto of Esperance , Mrs McCabe , noted that being kind builds a positive image, earning trust and respect as kindness shines through even in the darkest moments. It gives us hope that better days are ahead. Kindness also sows optimism, and optimism is exactly what we need right now.
Noting the uncertainty of the future, she concluded that with the right mind set, the help of each other and the resolve to be kind, we can all continue to thrive and praised the prize winners for how they had reflected these values throughout the past nine months.
Wallace has a rich academic tradition and despite the obvious challenges this year has presented our young people continue to excel.
In 2020 41 prizes for outstanding academic achievement are presented to GCSE students achieving 10 or more A*-A grades while at A-Level, 46 students achieved 3 or more A*-A grades.
In a further change from tradition we had more than one guest speaker. Short filmed contributions came from part of the Senior Prefect team of the Class of 2014. Head Boy Chris Robinson read Modern Languages at Cambridge and is currently working at Manchester City football club. Deputy Head Boy and 1st XV Captain, Samuel Moore studied Medicine at Cambridge. Head Girl Rebecca Lafferty is working as a doctor after graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast. Each took the time to share some personal reflections on how Wallace had prepared them for life after school, thanked their past teachers, expressed their congratulations and offered some motivation and encouragement to our prize winners as they embark on their “next step” in uncertain times.
Please see the links to our SPD20 booklet and videos embedded at the end of this article. We hope you enjoy this virtual event and look forward to meeting prize-winners and speakers in person next year. Thanks to the Art Department for their assistance in selecting the featured pieces.
The Principal’s Senior Prize Day Report
The Chair of The Board of Governors- Sandra McCabe
Last modified: February 24, 2021