Speech day at Ripon Grammar School

Speech day special prize winners Lauren Langham, Derek van der Westhuizen, Megan Jones, Omamofe Omatsone, Ellie Lees, Harry Yates and James McDaniel.  (131108M3b)
Speech day special prize winners Lauren Langham, Derek van der Westhuizen, Megan Jones, Omamofe Omatsone, Ellie Lees, Harry Yates and James McDaniel. (131108M3b)

Record-breaking high performers at Ripon Grammar School who left in the summer have been invited back to celebrate their achievements.

The group who took their A-levels this summer contributed to the best results ever at Ripon Grammar School, headmaster Martin Pearman told guests at the school’s annual speech day.

The results took the grammar to the top of all state schools in Yorkshire, with 79.4 per cent of all A-levels being A*, A or B grade.

The students took pride of place in front of an audience that included the Mayor and Mayoress of Ripon, the Mayor of Harrogate, county and district councillors, governors, parents, staff and guest speaker Mark Damazer CBE, former controller of BBC Radio 4 and now Master of St Peter’s College, Oxford University.

Chairman of governors at the school, Dr Peter Mason, said: “This has been another excellent year with much to celebrate.

“With eagerness in learning and inspiration in teaching comes the panoply of opportunities. The huge range of courses and prestigious employment gained by last year’s leavers confirms that Ripon Grammar School is a place of opportunity.”

Students have gone on to study at top universities, with nine gaining places at Oxford and Cambridge, while another two are studying in Masstricht and the USA.

Next year is set to bring additional facilities at the school with work starting at Easter on a new humanities building with dedicated classrooms for history, religious studies and modern foreign languages.

The work, which should be completed by next November, will also see an upgraded entrance to the school off Clotherholme Road.

Future plans include an extension to the girls’ boarding house ready for September 2015, for which North Yorkshire County Council has confirmed funding.

Addressing the students, Mr Damazer said: “There are things more important than being clever, but being clever is not a bad start.

“More or less nothing beats the love of knowledge and it doesn’t matter if that knowledge is not immediately useful.

“Knowledge does not have to be useful to be fun; it’s worth chasing for its own sake.”

In telling them that it was always possible to bounce back from failure, he added: “There is no problem with good fortune; do not apologise for it. But some people do not have the luck of coming to a school like this, or being blessed with your brains.

“So be clever, find out about things, never never give up being intellectually curious, don’t worry if your pursuit of knowledge doesn’t immediately, or ever, make you wealthier, don’t panic when you make a mistake or fall over and never underestimate the value of kindness.”

TROPHIES AND SPECIAL AWARDS

Head of School House: Omamofe Omatsone; Head of Johnson House: Zara Cotton; Head Girl: Sally Pitts; Head Boy: Derek van der Westhuizen; Drama: Elizabeth Tearle; Engineering: Stephen Laws; Commitment to Music: Daniel Reynard; Contributions to School Music: Sarah Owens; Sport: Hannah Crosby-Wood; Miss Cullingworth’s Prize for Progress in Sixth-Form Studies: Philippa Bell; Harrogate Borough Council Prize for Progress in Sixth-Form Studies: Callum Wood;Service to the Community: Hannah Crosby-Wood; Rotary Award for Service above Self: Chelsea Taylor; Outstanding Female Sporting Achievement: Jessica Watson; Outstanding Male Sporting Achievement: Dominic Butler; Gladys Hall Memorial Rose Bowl for Service to the School: Georgina Sanderson; Philip Mortimer Trophy for Service to the School: Jack Lale; All-Round Achievement: Hannah Hickingbotham; Outstanding Achievement: Hugh McHale-Maughan.