Upper School Choice - chess

Farewell to the Class of 2020

1st July 20

Year 13 students

Today we said goodbye to our Y13 students as they move on to their next adventures. Head, Robert, hosted a virtual Callover where students, parents and staff could gather and look back over the amazing contribution this year group have made to the school.

Head of Sixth Form, Takako, spoke first. She said: “Kindness, a belief in the importance of every individual and their voice, the determination to have a positive impact on the world around us, these values are what makes KAS special, and they are what makes each one of you special.

I am not one for looking backwards in life, but today is probably a fitting moment to pay tribute to your contribution to our school. Over the years you have taken part in many school events and activities, whether sporting, musical, political, dramatic or artistic. You have helped make our school a better place, improving it in ways both seen and unseen. When called upon you have acted as student leaders and role models.

However, instead of just celebrating what you have done, I would like to concentrate on the promise of what you will do in the years to come. We live in troubled times. It isn’t just the pandemic, we are also facing an environmental crisis and the world is waking up to the racial injustice that has prevailed for many many years. This could be cause for feelings of disillusionment and despair, but instead I am full of hope. And the reason I am full of hope is because of each one of you. Leaving KAS you are armed with confidence, determination and a strong set of values which means that you do not shy away from fighting for what you believe in. I hope that in the years to come you will use what you have gained from KAS to transform our society into one that reflects respect for the dignity of all life.

It is easy for society to dismiss young people, to ignore their voices or to not take them seriously. However in the last few years we have seen many young people stand up and fight for the society they want. Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, the high school students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida following the school shooting there in 2018, and more recently Marcus Rashford – a 22 year old footballer who used his voice and first-hand experience of poverty to persuade the government to continue to offer free school meals to children during the summer holiday. The world is waking up to the incredible power that young people possess when they determine to stand up and fight for what is right.

The UN has described young people as ‘critical agents of change’. There is much that needs changing in this world, so I hope that you will take the strong foundations you have established at KAS and use them as a platform to do all you can to transform our world for the better.

I for one am eagerly waiting to see what you do in the years ahead, and I am confident that each one of you, in your own unique way, will have a positive impact on the world around you. Good luck, your mission ahead is huge, but you will always always have the support of your KAS family.”

The Y13 form tutors shared individual memories of each student and we were treated to music from Ethan and Justin (AKA The Doorstep Duo).

Representing the students, Georgina, Charlotte-Lily and Tara spoke for their year group. They said: “KAS is a place that has inspired creativity in all of us. At what school would you be able to represent the mathletes one day and perform in a musical production the next. Thanks to the sports teams, the School Six, the artists, the drama kids and everyone who’s represented the school along with the teachers who made it all happen.

Everyone would agree that a huge huge part of what makes up KAS is our wonderful teachers. The teachers work tirelessly and we don’t speak lightly when we say that put everything into our education. Every student here will have their own special relationships with particular teachers and there would be too many to name now but we want to say a sweeping thank you.”

Robert shared some final thoughts including this short but powerfully relevant poem by Christopher Logue:

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.

The Callover finished with a slideshow of memories soundtracked by Max and Elvis. A chaotic final photo moment and a promise to meet for Prom when regulations allow brought the morning to a close.

We wish all of our Y13 students good fortune as they fly into their bright futures. I’m sure we’ll see them soon at our Old Alfredian events.

Where Next?