OUR Heads of School, Ben Marshall and Beth Carberry, gave such a fantastic speech at our End of Term Leavers’ Service on July 9th, and because we were only able to have a certain number of guests in attendance, we thought we would share it with you below…

Ben: “Good morning everyone. Many of you will have been here at Prizegiving or watching online, listening to Beth and I talk about our time at the school but in the two weeks since then, a lot has changed. At that point, I had two weeks of school left, filled with cricket matches, House Athletics, the Martin Doyle Challenge and a Leavers’ Dinner, and I was really looking forward to it all. However, the small matter of a positive Covid case came up and put five of us here in isolation from last Tuesday which I quickly realised would run all the way until today. I was in tears on the day I found out. Not because of the isolation itself (I was with my brother who was also in the unlucky cricket team, so we helped each other through) but because I knew I was missing my last two weeks as a King’s pupil, and all the events and activities that come with it. The fact that I was more upset about missing the last weeks of school than I was at not being able to leave the house for 10 days highlights how much I love this school and how much I have enjoyed my time here. It also means that for me, as I am sure is the case with all of you as well, today is a very emotional day. King’s has been so much more than just a school for me and I will miss it more than I can express in words.

Beth: “Although Ben and I have not achieved quite as much as we initially hoped this year, last Monday we did successfully manage to arrange a trip back to Acremont for the longest serving cohort of King’s Ely in 2021. As we were walking around the house and garden, it was heart-warming to reminisce about all of the memories we had made there, and to remark upon the things that had been changed by our own perspectives over the years (the small classroom sizes and their furniture were quite a shock to us, as we remember them being so much bigger), but also on what had reassuringly stayed the same. When we went off to visit classrooms, we were able to see our Year 1 Teacher Mrs Monk, and this was a particularly sentimental experience as we were her first class in her new post. Mrs Monk was exceptionally influential on me as she has the most beautiful voice and is a very talented musician, which definitely spurred me on to pursue music. When I was talking to the Year 1 pupils about who my teacher had been, I was so pleased that they immediately recognised Mrs Monk as “the lovely singing teacher,” and it is a perfect testament to how wonderful the teachers here at King’s are. Not only do they share their passions with us, but they inspire and encourage us to be creative in our own ways too and we will always be indebted to them all for that.

Ben: “This last year has really underlined what sort of a school King’s Ely is. We have not had a school year like this one ever before, and fingers crossed we will never have to go through this again, but during a year of unprecedented challenges, King’s has made the best of what could have been a thoroughly underwhelming Year 13. When most of the football season was spent in lockdown, King’s made sure that we got to play a match just a few weeks ago to give those of us in Year 13 a chance to represent the school one last time. When the opportunities to have multiple year groups and parents together at services were limited, King’s made sure to host as many people as possible at Prizegiving, spanning five year groups and over a hundred parents and relatives. When the possibility of some of us missing our Leavers’ Dinner due to isolation became a reality, King’s made sure to adjust the date so that the whole year group could be together. The effort to which the school has gone to make our final year memorable has not gone unnoticed by any of us, and we will all look back on our years at King’s with fondness and gratitude for the role so many people have played in making our time here truly special.

Beth: “It is impossible to fit 16 years of thank yous into a paragraph, but we are about to try. Firstly, thank you to Mr Attwater, Mr Shaw and Mr Pennington, whose tireless work behind the scenes at putting on events and giving our year group valuable opportunities this past year is hugely appreciated. Thank you to Mrs Thomas for the enormous amount of work you have carried out over our TAGs and we hope you never have to go through it again. We would also like to thank our incredible year group once more – the class of 2021. We have all had our ups and downs during our years at school, not least during the last two years especially, but you have never failed to make it entertaining, even during our most difficult moments, and we thank you all for your great spirit throughout. We would also like to thank our amazing teachers, house masters and mistresses, tutors, support staff, music teachers, and anyone else we might have forgotten! Your pastoral care and teaching have reached above and beyond this year particularly during online learning, and on behalf of Year 13, we would just like to express our heartfelt recognition and appreciation. Finally, thank you to our parents, grandparents and guardians for attending the final service today, and for everything you have done for us during our time at King’s Ely; the sacrifices and support you have given us will always be remembered.”

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