Wellington’s fourth Speech Day saw our leavers come together both on campus and virtually to celebrate their achievements and mark this special moment in their lives. While this year’s Speech Day format was slightly different the pride and excitement we felt as a community for our Class of 2020 was more evident than ever.
On Wednesday 27th May, our leavers gathered on the Wellesley Quad to enjoy their final moments of school life, before marking the transition from Wellingtonians to Old Wellingtonians with the traditional passing out.
The speeches commenced with an address from Mr McCallum, Head of Sixth Form, who always manages to strike the right balance between encouraging the leavers to savour the memories they have made, while at the same time looking towards their bright futures with a sense of confident anticipation.
Look to the doors in front of you and consider the very literal next steps you are about to take. These steps mark the end of your time as a pupil at Wellington, and the beginning of something new. Wherever you go, one important impulse to heed is the one that encourages us to say ‘yes’, to be open and attuned to the opportunities that the world has to offer, and to take advantage of what is presented to us.
Following Mr McCallum was Katia, Old Wellingtonian 2020, who spoke eloquently about the importance of having the courage to discover and follow our true paths to their conclusion.
At the beginning of year 12, we were all encouraged to cherish and make the best use of our time. The quote from Richard II, “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me,” was used for dramatic effect and in the months that followed, its true meaning made perfect sense. Now we are leaving the swimming pool and are setting sail out to sea, where there is no comprehensive map or clear destination. We are fortunate in that we are free to travel in so many directions available to us, and our ships have been made bigger, stronger and faster than many who try to sail them. If I had to choose the best thing that our time here has offered us, it would be the freedom we have been given in our minds. We decide what is good and bad, we decide what is worth fighting for and know the importance of moving forward in a way that is true to us. Class of 2020: shun mediocrity, make no compromises, plan for great things and do not throw away your shot.
Katia then introduced Head of College Emmie, whose speech implored her peers to hold onto all memories, the hopefully rare bad ones along with the plentiful good ones, due to their power to shape and inform their lives, particularly at such a formative stage.
In our time at Wellington, each of us will have formed a plethora of memories brought about by numerous experiences shared together. We can view them as landmarks on a map, which guide us and give us confidence to explore further. For example, gaining our IGCSE results helped give us the confidence to propel us into the rigours of IB, or going on various ACAMIS trips have helped us understand and appreciate the importance of teamwork. All the challenges and achievements that we’ve faced, this year more than any other, have subtly shaped us into the people we are today. All of us can look back on these memories, the ones we love and even ones we would rather forget, cherish them and be proud. From performances, to exams, matches, lounging around in the common room, everything we have learned inside and outside of school, will accompany us on our next steps. While we may not be comfortable leaving this familiarity behind, we are now ready to say goodbye and use what we’ve learned here to make our own futures bright. Each of us can leave these gates with confidence and courage, with our heads held high.
Wellington’s Principal Eleanor Prescott brought the speeches to an end with a reflection on the nature of the passing out parade and how it marks a necessary moment of transition that should be embraced without anxiety.
The military aspect of our connection to Wellington’s history is reflected in ceremonies that have remained through the centuries. Today, we conclude our time together and you will take your place in that history. Passing out is the moment you cease to be a pupil and cease to be Wellingtonians, becoming Old Wellingtonians. It should be a moment to remember and one filled with great joy, while also giving us cause for reflection. As leavers you should be ready to go. You are excited about the next phase of your lives, and to get out and explore the new world.
With that, Wellington’s Class of 2020 were called by name and took their final steps through the doors and out into the esplanade, as newly minted Old Wellingtonians. We wish all of our year 13 leavers the very best of luck in all their ambitions and goals they choose to pursue.
More relevant articles：
- Year 13s secure another year of outstanding offers
- We are Wellington | The value of open-mindedness, Emmie year 13
- IB Art virtual exhibition | Artist Q&A with Bowen year 13
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