So much has happened at once over the past half term! The first week was a baptism of fire for me as Captain of School, organising prefect rotas, a sixth form welcome afternoon and a parents’ induction evening. I was assured things would calm down once those first few days were over.
The following week saw the Open Evenings, where around 1000 people took tours around the school and saw displays from the age old forensic mystery in Biology to a brilliant, loud display of the extensive talent in the Music Department.
For me, the first couple of weeks seemed to be building up to a particular event, the Old Boys’ Dinner. One of the most prestigious and traditional events in the school calendar, it was also to be the stage for my first public speech. Initially I was looking forward to this prospect until I saw the guest list; with groups from last year ranging to the 1930s in attendance! Luckily my speech went down well and the evening proved to be the best experience of my six years at the school.
The first meeting of the academic year for the committee organising the Fireworks Evening followed soon after. It was an event I had attended since year 7 but had never really considered just how much work goes on behind the scenes. The event is a major fundraiser for the school and initial figures this year suggest that over £8000 has been raised, an increase of around £2000 from the previous year! In the same week a number of sixth formers, parents and teachers travelled to the school’s centre in Wales to welcome the whole of year 7 and their families for the Farchynys Open Day.
Both of these events were a great example of how much the school relies on the help of parents. In light of this the school hosted an event for new parents who had volunteered for the QMA. This was a chance for everyone to decide which committee they wished to join and get to know other members of that team.
The CCF Field Day saw cadets taking part in everything from room clearances to route marches and from command tasks to camouflage and concealment. As this was the first year that I’d been able to get involved in the organisation of the day and I realised how much of a logistical challenge taking over 300 cadets to Nesscliff Training Area really is.
The big finish to this first half term was, as ever, Speech Day. In a slight shift from tradition the school invited an Old Boy to deliver the church service and Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South, to speak at the ceremony in the evening. The day is often said to be the most important of the year as Captain of School, with taking charge of prefecting for both the morning and evening; not to mention delivering the First Lesson in the church service and the final speech of the Prize Giving Ceremony. With a notably good team of prefects this year everything ran very smoothly and as with the Old Boys’ Dinner, the day proved to be one of, if not the best day of my time as the school.