It seems almost surreal that I’m writing this blog during my last ever week at Queen Mary’s. From looking up to almost everyone in the school, I am now coming to the end of my final year, in which I have overlooked the whole school from the position of its most senior pupil. The amount of change since my first year as a ‘Fustie’ is nothing short of remarkable. The spring term activity has only reinforced the degree of change.
This term is the one most often associated with the ‘International in Outlook’ pillar of the school; and while the two main February half term trips took place, the traditional Alabama Space Camp was replaced this year with a trip to Florida and the Kennedy International Space Station. The trip was with QMHS for the first time, as was the ski trip to Canada. The World Challenge, which I was fortunate enough to go on myself last year, has changed its location to Borneo for this summer’s expedition. The students visited the Peak District on a training weekend this term in preparation for what I’m sure will be for them, as it was for me, the most difficult but rewarding thing ever to have done. It is always refreshing to see opportunities available to all members of the school to broaden their experience through travelling for the purpose of a challenge.
While the annual, well-organised CCF Overseas Camp in Cyprus was a success as usual, closer to home the students on the CCF Adventurous Training camp in Farchynys started a new chapter in QM history by being the first guests to use the new cottage, recently purchased through the support of the QMA. Securing this substantial property for generations to come is one of the great success stories of this school year, and exemplifies the considerable changes that have taken place in different aspects of school life over my seven years here.
Another of the highlights of this term was the promotion of mental health awareness for the first time, during national Mental Health Awareness Week. Presentations on the topic were made in both year and full school assemblies, ensuring all members of the school were informed about an extremely important and relevant subject.
For the sixth form, Mr Matley organised a brand new UCAS afternoon, where some leading universities and employers offering apprenticeships came in to run a workshop and deliver presentations. I’m sure this was invaluable for members of Year 11 and Year 12, and added to the numerous events the school runs to assist students with post A-Level choices.
It is wonderfully reassuring as my time here comes to an end to see the school continue to expand horizons and offer new opportunities. I would like to give my thanks to all the members of staff who have made QM such an enriching experience for me, both academically and in terms of developing key life skills; and I wish the new Captain of School all the best for what truly is an extremely rewarding role.