WE were thrilled to welcome James Shone, founder of the I Can & I Am charity, as Guest of Honour at King’s Ely Senior’s Prizegiving Service this afternoon (June 25th).

The service was held at Ely Cathedral and despite being in a very different, scaled back format due to the restrictions, it was still a wonderful occasion and opportunity to celebrate just some of the achievements of our Year 9-13 students during the last academic year.

Prizegiving is an annual celebration of our students’ academic achievements and outstanding successes in everyday school life, such as music, art, drama and sport.

Academic Prizes are awarded to several students in each year group; there are awards for Most Improved Students and those who have provided an Outstanding Contribution to School Life. There are also King’s Scholar and Queen’s Scholar Prizes, Prefect Awards, International Scholar Prizes and Potticary Medals for the Heads of School; which went to Ben Marshall and Beth Carberry this year.

Long-standing awards and medals which celebrate historical achievements at King’s, such as the Bennett Prize, Dimmock Reading Prize, Shepherd Cup and Winkfield Cup, to name just a few, are also presented.

Hundreds of students, staff members, families, dignitaries and friends of the school would usually attend Prizegiving, but due to the circumstances this year, guests were restricted to prize winners, two members of their family, who were seated in ‘household bubbles’, and a handful of staff members.

Our Guest of Honour was James Shone. Following a sixteen year career in several boarding schools and being a housemaster for twelve of those years, James was appointed as headmaster to Monkton Prep School in Bath in 2012.

During his medical assessment, a brain tumour was discovered. Over the coming months, James underwent two massive operations spending eleven weeks in hospital; the operations saved his life but took most of his sight. Further to this, James had to relinquish a dream job, undergo radiotherapy and then set off into a new future without employment or buoyant health.

James is a man who embodies a positive attitude to life and a determination to turn setbacks into springboards. As a housemaster, this was at the heart of his pastoral message, and his focus now is on spreading the messages of ‘I Can & I Am’ to as many individuals across the UK and beyond as possible. Put simply, the heart of his charity is to inspire confidence in every individual to enable them to know who they are and what they are able to do, rather than focusing on what they can’t.

Congratulations not just to our prize winners but to our entire school community, whose resilience has shone brighter than ever during this challenging year.

Thank you to everyone who made this afternoon’s service so special, including students and staff members who gave readings, the Chamber Choir who sang the anthem, of course Mr Shone, and Year 13 student, Jamie Layfield, for his spinetingling performance of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ on the piano (arr. Jon Schmidt).

We are pleased to say that Prizegiving was livestreamed, so those who were unable to attend the service, or who would like to watch it back, can do so here: https://bit.ly/3jfm2Pq

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