On Saturday, Windermere School hosted its 155th annual prize day, as around 600 students, parents and staff gathered together to celebrate the events and successes of the past school year.
The morning began with an address from Dr Mike Dwan, the Chairman of the Board of Governors, who reflected on some of the achievements of the last twelve months, including the recent ISI inspection, in which the school excelled in every category; the record-breaking 2017 IB results; and being named the International Baccalaureate School of the Year in the Sunday Times. He also paid tribute to the endeavour, hard work and resilience of the staff.
Following Dr Dwan’s address, Ian Lavender, Headmaster at Windermere School, delivered his Headmaster’s report. Among those singled out for mention were four students who have been at the school since they started nursery in 2003. Victoria Stanton, Harry Broomby, Rachel Harris and Joe Baker have a combined total of sixty years of Windermere School education, and all will be starting at university later in the year.
Following the opening addresses, the students were called to the stage to receive their prizes. The presentation began with the external awards, including Grade 8 Harp for Charlotte Salisbury and Grade 8 Singing for Katie Bryson. Chloe Murray was awarded Grade 8 in Music Theatre, and Head Girl, Hannah Greenway, was awarded Level 4 Diploma in Music Performance. There were also team trophies for the School Basketball Team, winners of the Under 19 Barrow Basketball League Cup Competition and runners-up in the Round Square International Basketball Tournament.
The lower and middle school (Years 7-11) academic prizes, awarded for high effort and academic attainment throughout the year, followed the external awards, as well as the lower and middle school open prizes, which cover all areas of the curriculum, recognising individual effort and attainment.
Upon completion of these prizes, attention turned to the Sixth Form. Following the same format as the lower and middle school prizes, the sixth form students’ academic efforts were announced, before the presentation of the individual open prizes.
Among the Sixth Form open prizes was a new award – the Isabel Fletcher Memorial Prize for Progress in Spanish. Isabel Fletcher was a much loved teacher of Spanish and Latin at Windermere School from 1976 to 2012, and someone who encouraged students with real passion. The first recipient of the Isabel Fletcher Memorial Prize was Tara Bryson.
Before the presentation of the eagerly anticipated whole school open prizes, the students’ endeavours in sport were rewarded. Prizes included all round success in Junior Sport, awarded to Eleanor Dwan; the Tweedale Cup for Excellence in Games, awarded to Thomas Whitehead; and the Individual All-Round Sports Cup, awarded to Rachel Harris. Other prizes include cross-country running, athletics, tennis, cricket, football, hockey, netball and basketball.
There was also a new sports prize presented this year. The Holly Monk Memorial Cup for the Most Tenacious and Team Spirited Race Sailor was introduced in memory of Holly Monk, a passionate sailor who always wanted to be the best race sailor she could be. The first recipients of the Holly Monk Memorial Cup were Pierce Harris and Alfie Cogger.
The presentations finished with a number of open prizes, each one accompanied by its own citation. The John Halstead ‘Extra Mile’ Award was awarded to Jos Arnold, someone who has made a real difference and been resolute, measured and determined; the Rebecca Bailey Endeavour Cup was presented to Harry Broomby for his commitment to sporting success; Oliver Schemuth received the Nicholson Shield, awarded for his extensive contribution to the school community and his passion for serving others; and the recipient of the Fox Award for Outstanding Service to the Community was Year 7 student, Thomas Johnson, a founder member of the Eco Club and, according to his fellow pupils, someone who always has good ideas.
Other open prizes presented on the day included the Ingham Trophy (Alissa Joy); the International Prize, presented to Nikole Gimbarova; the Round Square Bowl (Eve Handy and Charlotte Salisbury); Ryan’s Quaich, awarded for commitment to the performing arts, was presented to Katriona Redhead; the Derek Scott Cup for meeting every challenge with courage and good humour (Frederic Bargon); and the High Sheriff’s Cup for Work, presented to Jeremy Honey for displaying a work ethic to which others should aspire.
Before the presentation of three prizes which remain closely guarded secrets, the Marga Stofberg Prize, the Headmaster’s Prize and the Inter-House Endeavour Cup, the Lower School, Middle School and Sixth Form Awards were presented. Amber Arnold was the proud recipient of the Lower School Award, recognition of the positive impact she has on those around her; Katriona Redhead won the Middle School Award for her kindness and determination; and Annabelle Bennett received the Sixth Form Award for her strength of character and the ability to encourage others.The first of the final three prizes was the Marga Stofberg Prize, presented to someone who demonstrates courage, perseverance and hard work, someone who opts in, not out. This year’s Marga Stofberg winner was Lottie Mayvers. As well as her packed academic programme, Lottie has also represented the school in a number of sports and is a talented show jumper.
The Headmaster’s Prize is considered to be the most prestigious and is never an easy decision. The recipient of this year’s Headmaster’s Prize came to the school having experienced some disruption in his previous school, but, according to Mr Lavender, during his interview he saw something genuine, a desire to change and learn and almost overnight his attitude changed. He has since worked consistently hard, while remaining good-humoured, dignified and polite. This year’s Headmaster’s Prize was awarded to Frederic Bargon.
Before the Head Boy and Head Girl, Oliver McTurk and Hannah Greenway, delivered the closing address, the final prize is presented. The Inter-House Endeavour Cup is awarded to the house which fares best in all inter-house events, including sport, debating, and performing arts. This year’s winning house, by just two points, was Cavendish.
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.