25th May 2018

The thoughts of a Y13 leaver

This is the transcript from a speech given by Y13 leaver, Tom Benson, at our Y13 Leavers' Assembly this week.

As members of the Upper Sixth, we are now, as you may have guessed, at a significant point in our lives.

Here we are, about to go out into the so called ‘real world’, something which the last 14 years of our educational lives have been geared towards. We’ve planned, worried and worked for this moment, ready to take our exams in the next upcoming weeks. This is where that distant point of ‘leaving school’ becomes a reality, and for some of us it may still seem rather surreal. Perhaps at this transition it would be wise to look ahead into the future.

What will it bring? The great point about this moment in our lives is that nobody really knows. Sure, University perhaps, then a job, which would fit the majority of us. But what about in 10, 20 years’ time? Who will be Prime Minister? Who will be a getaway driver? And who will be dancing on the West End? Who knows where we will all be in 20 years? Let us not, however, forget the past 7 or for some of us, 2 years.

I would like to say that everybody here can name more than a few things that they have gained from their time at High Storrs. Yes, you sit your exams and get the necessary qualifications, but there’s more to High Storrs than that. As many wise elders would say “exams are not the be all and end all in life, but they do open a lot of doors and make the path that much easier”. I, for one, have learned skills and had the opportunity to experience things that I will most likely remember for far longer than ligand substitution reactions, or other aspects of Chemistry that I have covered over the past 2 years. Sponsored walks and school trips to Wales may have seemed hard at times, but then again, for me, so was Chemistry A level.

It is under these various challenges that we develop, and a time here at High Storrs gives challenges that yield huge rewards and allows us to learn about ourselves as well as others. It brings academic ability but also confidence and, more importantly, forms strong bonds between us. But despite all of this, I think, it’s the friends we’ve made along the way which will last the longest. I can still remember my first day, looking around my tutor group, wondering where all these people had come from, and simply how large the school was overall. For many of us, those first few days were the basis of friendships that would last for the duration of our time at High Storrs, and our school careers wouldn’t have been the same without them.

I would like to think that even with the year group following wildly different paths in later life, those friendships formed here, on the pitch or in the classroom, will still hold strong, formed over happy, funny or, in some cases, outright embarrassing memories of the years gone past.

It is no coincidence that people say, “It’s the staff that make the school”, this certainly holds true to High Storrs. I would like to thank the teachers and various support staff for their constant provision over the past 7 years of our time here. It can sometimes be difficult to just appreciate how lucky each and every one of us in this room is to attend such a city-wide renowned school.

As I said earlier, nobody truly knows what the future has in store for us. However, I hope that whatever comes next, we can look back fondly on our time here at High Storrs. Thank you.