Top editor gives inspirational talk at Grammar School speech day

ONE of the nation's top journalists returned to her former school last Friday to give a talk to sixth formers and this year's prize winners.

Katharine Viner, who is editor of The Guardian’s Weekend magazine, was the guest speaker at Ripon Grammar School’s Speech Day, where she also presented awards to the prize winners.

Students are given the opportunity at the ceremony to listen to an outside speaker to help them think about their career development and also to reward them for their success.

Headteacher Martin Pearman said that Katharine inspired the audience with her speech which focused on the importance of being passionate in your career choice.

“Katharine gave a truly inspirational address, and that’s not something I say lightly,” he said.

“She really highlighted the need for passion when you go into your career and cited occasions when she has interviewed clever and talented people who were lacking in passion.

“She has obviously done very well for herself, reaching the top of her profession at a relatively young age.”

Katharine, who began her journalism career with work experience at the Ripon Gazette, was head girl at the school in 1988 and won The Observer Mace Award for debating at that time.

She recently co-wrote the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, with Alan Rickman, who is also its director.

The play is based on the writings of American student Rachel Corrie who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while acting as a human shield for Palestinian homes in Gaza.

Last Friday’s ceremony was also attended by MP David Curry, the Mayor of Ripon, Coun Stuart Martin and the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Coun Bob and Pat Nash.

* The school is holding an auction of promises next Thursday, November 17, in aid of its 450 celebrations.

Featuring more than 70 lots, the auction is taking place at the Ripon Spa Hotel, with viewing from 7pm and the auction itself from 7.30pm.

Tickets, costing 10 including light supper and drink, are now on sale from the school (602647) or from the Spa Pharmacy on Westgate (602109).

PRIZE WINNERS

Prizes for GCSE

Shepherd Prize for history: Matthew Pickles; Elsie Pecke tt memorial prize for science: Emma Sharp; Jim Spence memorial prize for science: Christopher Smith; Emily Taylor memorial prize for creative writing: Rebecca Dobbins.

Prizes for Advanced Level work

De Grey awards - major: Sophie Nixon, Christopher Pemberton, William Collier, Rosemary Pringle, Helen Currie, Harriet Scales, Sarah Forbes, Rachel Sowerby, Joshua Moore, William Stanley.

De Grey awards - minor: Chloe Arnold, Rebecca Greenslade, Michael Carter, Jessica Hodge, Holly Chatwin, Harriet Hurrell, Michelle Cheng, Laura Koscik, Hazel Cottrell, Philippa Shaw, Edward Ellerington, Rebecca Smedley, Robert Exelby, Alexandra Webb.

Mary Johnson prize for mathematics: Rosemary Pringle. Sir Maurice Brayshay prize for further mathematics: William Collier. J H Brown memorial prize for chemistry: Harriet Hurrell. Stones' prize for physics: William Stanley. Lewis prize for biology: Joshua Moore.

Ethel Allison memorial prize for English literature: Hazel Cottrell. Jolly memorial prize for history: Edward Ellerington; Bruce Oldfield prize for art and design: Philippa Shaw. Constance Gilbey prize for French: Rachel Sowerby. School prize for economics: Guy Whitton. School prize for business studies: Laura Koscik. School prize for geography: Sarah Forbes. School prize for German: Harriet Scales. School prize for religious studies: Hannah Collard. School prize for psychology: Chloe Arnold.

Trophies and Special Awards

Marguerite Terry prize for head of Johnson House: Roxanne Stewart. Ripon High School Old Girls' Jubilee prize for head girl: Lauren Moffat. Old Riponians' prize for head boy:James Sharp. Miss Cullingworth's prize for progress in sixth form studies: Hannah Collard.

Harrogate Borough Council prize for progress in sixth form studies: Scott Leatherbarrow.

Operatic Society trophy for contribution to school music: James Sharp. Alethea Charlton trophy for drama: James Tyreman. Deborah Williamson trophy for sport: Rosemary Pringle. Cathedral prize for service to the community: Rebecca Greenslade. Gladys Hall memorial rose bowl for service to the school: Rachel Sowerby. Philip Mortimer trophy for service to the school: Stuart Anderson. Robert Atkinson memorial trophy for outstanding achievement: William Collier. Bill Latto trophy for all-round achievement: Rosemary Pringle.