Inspirational Prize Giving Celebrates What Makes Princethorpe So Special

Another exceptional year of achievement, progress, creativity and contribution was celebrated at Princethorpe College’s prestigious annual Prize Giving Ceremony held at The Butterworth Hall, Warwick University Arts Centre last Friday 3 November.

This year the College was delighted to welcome a very special guest of honour, Old Princethorpian Jide Olanrewaju who was returning to the College for the very first time, accompanied by his family, to present the Biodun Olanrewaju Memorial Prize, which commemorates his father.

Before the ceremony the Old Princethorpians Committee hosted a special pre-prize-giving drinks reception for the returning Upper Sixth and their parents, providing a welcome opportunity for last year’s cohort to get together and catch up on their news since the summer.

New Chair of Trustees, Mrs Liz Griffin, opened the proceedings, warmly welcoming parents, friends of the College and Princethorpians old and new to the occasion.

In his formal address the Headmaster, Ed Hester, gave thanks to all those who make Princethorpe the special place it is - the Trustees, the MSCs, the staff, the senior team, the parents and most importantly the pupils. His warm words paid tribute to all that is done in support of the College, the kindness, the compassion and the values that underpin the success stories of so many of our pupils and not just those who received prizes on the evening. He reminded us all that a Princethorpe education can literally change the course of a young person’s life.

Mr Hester congratulated last year’s Year 11 and Upper Sixth on their examination results and reflected that the value added scores of this year’s A-level candidates were the best ever in the College’s history.

The atmosphere all evening was joyful and celebratory and there were superb musical interludes from the Year 7 Chorus, College Orchestra and College Jazz Band whose pieces, Lovely Day, We Are Family and Aint No Mountain High Enough fittingly emphasised the spirit of the occasion.

And then it was time for the presentation of the House Prizes for Progress and Achievement, the GCSE and A-level Examination Certificates and a myriad of trophies, cups and shields. Watching the stream of young people coming across the stage and shaking Mr Hester’s hand was truly inspiring and humbling. The talent in evidence, the grit and determination, the passion, enthusiasm and commitment were all applauded and honoured.

Some of the young people took to the Butterworth Hall stage with confidence, others more self-consciously, some made us laugh, some brought a tear to our eye as we listened to, Director of Studies, Michael Reddish’s poetic citations.

The poignancy of the occasion was perhaps best shown by the presentation of the Biodun Olanrewaju Memorial Prize. In making the presentation Jide talked about his family’s time here at the school, about the unstintinting care and support the College provided and how the family had set up the prize in memory of his late father who died tragically and who embodied the spirit and values of Princethorpe. The award which includes a £1,000 cash prize was this year presented to Lower Sixth Former James Fletcher.

And finally it was time for the main award, The Princethorpe Shield, the oldest and most prestigious College award presented annually to the student who is seen to embody the spirit and ethos of the College in many facets of their school life. It was a very popular decision, and with much hand shaking, back clapping and cheering Marcio Zheng was welcomed to the stage to receive the Shield.

Then to close the proceedings Head Girl, Miriam Issacs, and Head Boy, Tim Duffy, gave an eloquent vote of thanks before the evening finally came to an inspiring end with enthusiastic singing of the College Hymn, ‘Here I Am Lord’ by the assembled throng.

Images from Prizegiving at The Butterworth Hall: