It has been an unprecedented year at Westonbirt School with students and staff navigating bubbles, blended online lessons and buoyant growth in pupil numbers. There was much to celebrate at Key Stage 4 and 5 Speech Day this morning as Headmistress, Natasha Dangerfield, took to the stage to reflect on the class of 2021;
“Unusually this year, as you leave school, you do so with a global class of ‘21, whose Sixth Form years have been shaped by a unifying situation.
My advice to you is not to concentrate on what you have not been able to do but, instead, to find the positives of your year. To celebrate the power you carry as an individual, to sit through exams and assessments, and adjust to evolving situations, despite the uncertainty.”
This sentiment was reflected in the words of Wishford Executive Chairman, Sam Antrobus, who said;
“The students who have experienced this most disruptive year have also experienced a crash course in character education and a number of absolutely essential skills for life – resilience, adaptability, personal responsibility, leading yourself and others. Those of you who have worked through those challenges, now have a skill set that will serve you incredibly well, as you move into the next phase of your education.”
Delivering the keynote speech and awarding prizes was leadership mentor, entrepreneur and ex-Chief of Staff for the Parliamentary leader of the South African Democratic Party, Jo Cruse. Having spent time running leadership workshops with Westonbirt Sixth Formers this year, Jo was well placed to reflect on the challenges they have faced and to send students off with the inspiring message;
“Whichever path you take after today, whether into a new school year, or into the world beyond the school gates, I hope that you will take with you spirit of this wonderful community and its commitment to nurture the very best in each of you as you continue to rally round each other and this extraordinary school. I wish you a future in which you are able to honour and embrace who you are, while also daring to step into who you hope to become.”