Speech Day ends an extraordinary year

Posted: 14th July 2021

And so ends another unforgettable year – crowned, as always, by a wonderful Speech Day held to celebrate all the many achievements of our students and our school as a whole.

Although it wasn’t the Speech Day we had hoped for, due to continuing restrictions preventing parents from joining us in person, it was still memorable as we gathered as a school community to look back and celebrate the highs and achievements of the past academic year.

We were inspired by the speeches of Headmistress Mrs Browne and out-going Head Girl Katie Hayton. We were mesmerised by beautiful musical performances. We applauded as so many of our girls deservedly received awards at our prize-giving.

Thanks to technology, parents and guardians could tune in live. Details on how to view it were being sent out to parents and guardians.

Despite the challenges that Covid restrictions put our way over the past academic year, Mrs Browne said we could take away “some great positives” from our experiences, “even if it’s just that it has reminded us how strong our community spirit is here”.

She said that staff had shown “exceptional dedication to develop their technology skills and online resources to ensure they could bring the very best ‘live’ teaching experience” during the challenging periods of lockdown.

The boarding team had been “phenomenal”. Adcote was one of the few boarding schools in the country to stay open all year, including at Christmas, so that girls could stay safe and happy.

There was a special word too for our cleaners, who “conducted deep clean after deep clean”, and applause for the “incredible dedication” of all Adcote staff.

The biggest highlight for Adcote as a school, of course, was winning the ISA’s Senior School of the Year Award.

“What a dream come true… What an affirmation of our standards of excellence in all areas. This is a national award given to schools of the highest calibre who demonstrate exceptional performance across the board,” said Mrs Browne.

Last summer we achieved “amazing” examination results at both GCSE and A-level and this year’s exam students, again, showed incredible diligence.

There were so many memorable events throughout the year, from stage productions, musical performances and sporting competitions to epic Challenge Days, inter-house contests and fantastic fundraising events – a good chunk of which were organised by students themselves.

And new to the Adcote calendar this year were the Tea Time Concerts.

“These have been a fantastic addition to our routine, very much embodying all that Adcote represents in inclusivity and encouragement, building confidence by asking girls to ‘have a go’ who in turn surprise themselves with the extent of their success,” said Mrs Browne.

The Prefect teams for Prep School and the senior schools were officially announced including new Head Girl Eleni H and Deputy Head Girl Margaret S. Congratulations to them all.

Mrs Browne recalled how very moving it was to attend the Summer Ball for Years 11 to 13.

“What amazing young women they are…and all such lovely girls, confident (not arrogant), personable and great fun… We are going to miss those leaving, but know they are going to have a knockout time at university where, being an old Adcotian, they are going to absolutely take the place by storm,” she said.

The Friends of Adcote were praised for their valuable contribution to events and fundraising, that make our school a better place, and running the second hand uniform shop. Their “crowning glory” this year was the gift of the outdoor classroom, The Pavilion, which has already become a valuable asset to outdoor learning, leisure activities and events.

There were personal congratulations to the athletics squad who represented Adcote in the National ISA Online Athletics Competition and “smashed it” to be named winners of the West Midlands region.

All those involved in ‘The Addams Family’ production were lauded too.

“The level of acting, singing and choreography were all far in excess of most school productions. Imaginative, entertaining and utterly absorbing, this performance was definitely one of the best I have seen in my long career,” said Mrs Browne.

As a school we are growing because more and more parents “want their daughter to be a part of this community which brings out the best in young women”, Mrs Browne said.

And she announced that the school has ambitions to expand physically in the future. Planning permission has been submitted to build a new classroom block opposite the Art Room. This is great news!

“We are in a fantastic position, with a fantastic team of staff all looking after an utterly brilliant group of girls who are going to be a totally impressive generation of the future,” she said.

Outgoing Head Girl Katie told the Speech Day audience how she had arrived at Adcote as a shy and timid girl 1,365 days ago. Back then she never imagined that she would one day have the confidence to take on the role of Head Girl.

Organising events with the Prefect Team had been an enormous privilege over the past year, she said. She had advice for younger students too.

“We all have a responsibility to contribute to the community,” she said.

“Stepping outside of your comfort zone allows you to grow confidence in yourself.

“Nobody is the complete article and always strive to improve upon yourself.”

She praised Mrs Browne as being “the most fantastic role model” and said that, in the years ahead, she would recall her wise words given in assemblies”.

Chair of Governors Mrs Langdale handed out individual awards and prizes to students.

“Wherever you go in the world, you take Adcote with you,” she said.

Congratulations went to Haughton who took the House Shield for winning the overall House competition this year. Innage came second and Glenmore was third.

During Speech Day the audience was treated to stunning musical performances. And, aptly, after this pandemic year, there was a theme of hope, sunshine, stars and rainbows.

Year 5 to 7 singers gave a rendition of ‘Over The Rainbow’. Prep School Choir sang ‘Playing With The Sun’ and ‘Catch A Falling Star’. The Senior String Ensemble performed ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow. The cast of The Addams Family sang a song from the show. Chamber Choir performed the folk song Shenandoah and ‘Take Me Home’ by Pentatonix (arrangement by Adcote Director of Music Mrs Besterman).

We hope you enjoyed our Speech Day and wish you a wonderful, relaxing and safe Summer holiday.

Categories: Events