The Annual Prize Distribution took place on Thursday, 20th October. This gave students, parents, governors and staff the opportunity to come together to celebrate the academic achievements of all pupils and reflect on another year of ‘Excellence and Participation’. And there was much to celebrate. The Visitor of the Day, Brigadier Andrew Roe QCVS, Commander 38 (Irish) Brigade, gave a rousing address which inspired and wholly engaged the assembled parents, pupils, staff, governors and their guests.
Mr Colin Gowdy, Chairman of the Board of Governors, opened the proceedings with a thought-provoking analysis of the process of academic selection and asked parents and past-pupils to consider how they could best support the school as it supports current pupils, while also safeguarding the Inst experience for future students.
The Principal’s address covered the extensive achievements, academic and extra-curricular, of the 2015-6 school year. Further, Miss Williamson reflected on her research expedition to Australia with the Churchill Fellowship, describing the good practise she had witnessed in relation to pupil wellbeing. The Principal’s research highlights the school’s commitment to making RBAI the most positive environment possible to promote pupil learning, engagement and self-esteem.
The Principal highlighted some of the outstanding academic achievements of the previous year. The Year 14 leavers were centre stage; Omar Helmy, Jack Irvine, Cameron Hilditch and Dylan Braithwaite have all taken up places at either Oxford or Cambridge Universities and 2 of these boys, Omar Helmy and Jack Irvine, along with Carson McKee, achieved 4A*s in their A Level exams. At AS Level, several boys achieved 4 A Grades: Head of School Theo Millar, Michael Corbett, Curtis Gribben, Conor Hamill, Angus Harley, Isaac Main, and Mustafa Thwaini. At GCSE, Ben Connolly, Matthew Shane and Donal Shearer each achieved 11A*s and, leading the year group in terms of points Aneurin Duffin-Murray with 12 GCSEs, 10A*s and 2As.
After presenting the prizes Brigadier Roe spoke stirringly, giving advice primarily to the assembled pupils, but with wisdom for all. To the prizewinners, he advised that they enjoy their successes, and to everyone he spoke of the importance of having goals and remembering the wisdom of Seneca, ‘’If you have no idea to what port you are sailing, no wind is favourable.’ This was a pertinent and timely reminder as we approach the end of the first half term. The distinguished guest also reminded his audience of the need to be open to failure when following a dream. Brigadier Roe concluded with a remembrance of Henley’s poem ‘Invictus’, the sentiments of which effectively summed up his speech.
The proceedings were concluded by the Vote of Thanks, delivered by Head of School, Theo Millar, who thanked the distinguished guest for his time and advice.
The academic and extra-curricular achievements of many boys were celebrated throughout the course of the afternoon. This was a wonderful occasion which will motivate and inspire all pupils to strive to achieve their dreams; it was made all the more special by the number of Year 14 leavers returning to be presented with their prizes.
Brigadier Andrew Roe speaking with Sir Patrick Coghlin.
Mr and Mrs Johnston with their son Thomas.
Mr Gowdy, Sir Kenneth, Lady Bloomfield and Mr Hamilton celebrate the achievements of the prizewinners.
Mrs Adair with sons Mark and Peter who both collected prizes.
The Principal with Mr Gowdy, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Theo Millar , Head of school and Mrs Millar.