On Saturday 4th June Runnymede College held its Senior School Speech Day & Prize Giving. On a glorious summer morning, academic, sporting and co-curricular prize-winners from Years 7 to 12 joined parents and teachers in the Julia Powell Building to celebrate their achievements.
Some lovely music opened the ceremony, followed by the Headmaster’s speech. Mr Powell offered a thought-provoking perspective on the unexpected consequences of Brexit for our school, outlining how it had paradoxically encouraged Runnymede students to explore university options in the USA and EU, leading to great success in admissions to outstanding institutions in the United States, the Netherlands, Ireland, and beyond. The Headmaster also acknowledged that he was delighted that so many VI Formers still pursued education in London and elsewhere in the UK, and he wanted to make it clear that by studying there or at other top-ranked international universities, students gained access to a Graduate Visa which would allow them to work in the vibrant British sectors of finance, law, media and consulting. He concluded with the promise that, by adapting to a post-Brexit reality, Runnymede College is able to give students the capacity to move onwards to higher education in whichever country and whichever university system they wish; a hopeful and cheering message. Mr Powell’s speech can be found on our video of the event.
The event’s guest of honour, Dr Manuel Muñiz, then delivered a fantastically engaging address. Dr Muñiz — an Old Runnymedian, educated at Oxford, Harvard and the Complutense; a former minister of foreign affairs and now Provost of IE — offered an overview of some of the world’s problems, including socio-economic inequality and the dangerous political populism that often results from this. However, he also suggested nine pieces of advice for the young people in the audience which he hoped would help them navigate the labyrinth of the twenty-first century. These elegantly phrased kernels of wisdom included: that they should stay adaptable and flexible, develop digital skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. He also recommended they stayed modest about their success, understanding of failure, and that they aim to give back to their communities through public service. All were impressed by Dr Muñiz’s confidently relaxed public speaking style and fascinating subject matter. The speech is well worth listening to on our video of the event, beginning at minute 18:45.
The academic book prizes were then given out by Dr Muñiz and the teachers, resulting in many delighted faces as pupils finally discovered which awards they had won. After some more brilliant music, Mr Crumpton, the Deputy Head for Co-curriculum, then spoke about the year’s achievements in Team Runnymede and the myriad of co-curricular opportunities the school now provides, before the final books, cups and trophies were distributed. Congratulations to everyone who won a prize on Saturday!
The ceremony was completed with an outstanding violin performance, before the happy prize-winners and their proud parents congregated by the side of the Founder’s Building for refreshments. As Mr Crumpton had noted, this was the largest number of parents who had attended a school event in more than two years, so it was wonderful to welcome them back.
We now look forward to the Junior School Prize Giving and Summer Fair this Saturday 18th June, which will be followed by the much-anticipated return of the Runnymede Summer Fair from 12 noon. All parents, pupils and family members very welcome!
In addition, we shall be holding an end of year whole-school Assembly, when even more accomplishments, both within and beyond the classroom, will be recognised and rewarded. And, of course, the Year 13s — our Class of 2022 — will be given their own graduation ceremony on Friday 24th, to which parents are also invited this year.