Parents, Trustees, staff and pupils have joined together to celebrate and enjoy Oakham's many successes and talents at our annual Speech Day.
It was a fantastic day, made even more special by the wonderful weather – meaning that the School literally ‘shone’! The T20 Cricket match, between the 1st XI and OO XI, was played in spectacular sunshine, in front of a crowd of parents and pupils on Doncaster Close.
There were also ‘shining’ examples of student work showcased for visitors to enjoy – including Art and Design Technology exhibitions, and displays featuring pupils’ work, trips and school activities from the past year. There were Science displays and experiments, along with an abundance of research-based work that could be perused in the Smallbone Library. Pupils also ‘presented’ their work in a variety of forms; dramatically, vocally and musically in a range of different concerts and performances, as well as through the formal presentations of their Citizenship campaigns and via an interactive Mock General Election. The picture gallery shows just a taste of what was showcased during the day.
The focus of the day were the speeches, where the whole school community gathered to listen to the Headmaster, Chair of Trustees, and the Head Boy and Head Girl.
During his address, the Headmaster described how he felt the ‘Great Acceleration’ (as named from Robert Colvile’s book) taking place both globally, as well as at Oakham. That life seems to be ‘speeding up’, patience has waned, and that ‘instant answers’ have become the norm. He impressed upon his audience of students, staff and parents that we all need to interweave the right amount of technology into our lives. He used his speech to outline the need to step aside from technology a little more and to “simply talk”, or more vitally, to listen. He argued that:“You cannot listen to an email”.
Most importantly, he outlined that, “Schools are places of social interaction, and that must never change. As humans, we are designed to connect with others, learn from them, listen to them, share with them and encourage them.” During the rest of his speech, Nigel went on to describe and celebrate many of these interactions – that happen both inside and outside of the classroom at Oakham.
Most notably he described how, “here at Oakham, our focus on the human values of service are a fundamental part of our DNA.” He praised the breadth and depth of the service activities in which students are involved at Oakham. He highlighted the scores of students helping out at Voluntary Action luncheons, as well as the CCF students pushing themselves to achieve a BTEC Diploma in Teamwork and Personal Development. He also mentioned the students working to support poorly resourced schools in Kenya and the Philippines, as well congratulating over 100 Oakhamians for completing their D of E Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
Many prizes and awards were given out during the ceremony - for academic, artistic, extra-curricular, musical, service and sporting successes. However, the Headmaster was clear that our prize-winners are but scratching the surface of what so many Oakhamians have achieved this year – and even more importantly, the progress that has been made by each boy and girl.