Autumn Term 2014 (September to October)
Hello, I’m Reece Bhatoe, welcome to my first blog post as Captain of School. Firstly, I’d like to share a little about myself with you. I currently study English Literature, Geography and History, with the intention of studying Human Sciences/Geography at university. At school I’m captain of the rugby 1st XV , Flight Sergeant 2IC of the CCF’s RAF section and generally just enjoy getting involved in everything school life has to offer, whether it be dramatic productions or the Horizon near-space project. Outside of the school gates I play rugby for Walsall RFC and I love to travel.
The term wasted no time in getting going with the sixth form and year 7 induction days going ahead on the first day back; now both cohorts have fully settled at school, and it is good to see them enjoying their time at the school already. The new arrivals didn’t have to wait long get involved at QM with the launch of Team Horizon’s newest venture: “Sunchaser”-an attempt to catch a photo of the sunrise from near-space, and the opportunity to participate in the expedition to Tanzania this summer.
For me as Captain of school this half-term has been a ‘baptism of fire’ of sorts, in that perhaps the most difficult public address for any Captain of School lies within it, the speech at the Old Boys’ Dinner. However, overall the night was very enjoyable with old Marians from as recent as last year, to as long ago as 1954 coming together to celebrate the work of the Queen Mary’s club over the last year. Additionally, I didn’t mess up my speech, which is always a bonus.
This half-term has been one of many challenges for me, with speeches, presentations or jobs to do seemingly hiding around every corner. However, after the shock of capture, I think that I am slowly starting to settle into my role as Captain of School.
Autumn Term 2014 (October to December)
If the previous half-term was the frying pan, then this half-term was the fire. If I thought that I was settled and ready for anything that the role could throw at me based on last half-term, these assumptions were blown out of the water, but not necessarily in a bad way, because the busy half-term I’ve had is a true reflection of just how much has gone on at school.
This year the annual Speech Day had a new look, In that for the first time the evening service took place at school, rather than the town hall, with prize winners receiving their prizes in a morning presentation. Thanks to the unrelenting work of Mrs. Wood and an endless list of helpers the school hall was decorated superbly and laid the setting for a fantastic evening. As any Captain of School will tell you, compared to the speech at the Old Boys’ dinner, the Vote of Thanks on speech day is a walk in the park, and I thoroughly enjoyed relaying my thoughts on the evening to the rest of the school community.
For me the hardest weeks of the half-term came in November where I had to divide my time between the organisation of the school’s Fireworks event, a part in the senior production of ‘Goodbyeee’ (a compilation of First World War productions) and the Air Squadron Trophy competition with the CCF. Despite some stressful times the fireworks event made record profits, the production was a huge success and we placed 4th in the Air Squadron Trophy, which is the best result I have achieved in three years with the team, so all in all I was pleased with how this testing month went, and was glad to be through it and no worse for wear. The efforts of those who supported me are what I believed made all the difference in this challenging time of year.
The school also marked the centenary of the First World War in many ways other than ‘Goodbyeee’, and the CCF’s annual remembrance Sunday was impressive as ever, making up a third of the entire Walsall parade. A re-enactment of the 1914 Christmas truce football match also took place (the Germans coming out on top 1-0) and a visit from Tom Wyre, Staffordshire poet Laureate 2013-14 who shared some of his work with the A2 English Literature set, a workshop which I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with a published poet in.
Finally in sport for the half-term it was good to see the QMGS netball team secure their first (hopefully of many) victory over the high-school’s team. The house cross-country and rugby competitions went ahead despite some ‘adverse’ weather conditions. However one of the highlights for this term for me has been the success of the 1st XV who continue to produce outstanding performances and results.
The term ended on the perfect note, a thoroughly enjoyable final assembly before Christmas featuring a cameo from Mr. Hughes’ Skiffle Group and of course Mr. Matley’s quiz, now the stuff of Queen Mary’s legend. With next term being my last full term at Queen Mary’s I can only hope for it to be as full and enjoyable as this term has been.