The 2016 Seaford College Speech & Prize Giving on Saturday morning was a great success. Staged for the first time in a grand marquee in the school’s grounds, the event included addresses by the Headmaster, Chairman of Governors, Head Girl and Head Boy, student athletes and musicians, and special guest Shola Kaye.
In his introductory speech, Headmaster John Green looked back with pride on his first three years in the post, as well as looking ahead with excitement to Seaford’s future. He began his address – which included quotes from Benjamin Franklin, David Brent, Muhammad Ali, Yeats and Yoda – by noting that the school recently achieved the best A*-B GCSE results and the highest percentage of leavers attending the top Russell Group universities in its history.
Mr Green went on to stress that rather than being a “conveyor belt hot house”, Seaford is somewhere that focuses on pupils instead of statistics, in order to produce students who are dynamic, ambitious, well-rounded and determined. The results of this ethos are record pupil numbers and waiting lists in most year groups. Mr Green then proceeded to say a fond farewell to departing pupils and staff members, and a heartfelt thank you to Seaford’s support staff, before outlining exciting future developments, such as the new sports hall/creative arts centre extension.
Head Girl Emma Brown and Head Boy Jack Jamieson each talked eloquently and movingly about what Seaford meant to them, with both commenting on the importance of overcoming self-doubt, and expressing gratitude for the many ways in which the school had helped them.
Emma talked of her pride in being part of a school that gives pupils the opportunity to discover what they’re capable of in all aspects of life, giving special mention to Seaford’s incredible sporting achievements for a school of its size. She spoke with real feeling about how Seaford provides a nurturing environment that produces pupils “who are ready to tackle the real world”.
Jack Jamieson then spoke charmingly about the ways in which the school had moulded him since he joined in Year 7. He focused on the importance of enthusiasm, aspirations and determination, and described how the opportunities Seaford had presented him with had given him self-confidence and allowed him to reach his potential.
Guest speaker Shola Kaye was also very well received. Shola is a foster child who went on to study at Cambridge University and then embark on a successful career as a research scientist, before returning to her first love and becoming a professional singer.
Her delivery was engaging and her speech was relevant to the Seaford community, containing simple and sound advice spoken from the heart. Her stage presence was tremendous and she came across as sincere and confident, with a gentle and engaging approach.
The 1,200-strong crowd of pupils, parents, staff and governors had already sat through a number of speeches, but Shola managed to win the audience over beautifully. She stayed on for the picnic lunch and happily socialised with governors, parents and pupils.
As one year comes to a close, the Seaford community is already looking forward to the next academic year and what it brings for Speech Day 2017. Ad alta!