The Rt Hon Sir Hugh Robertson told pupils at the school’s prize giving evening that continuing the hard work and commitment they had shown during the past year would allow them to “make dreams possible”.
As chairman of the British Olympic Association, the former soldier and deputy foreign secretary used his vast experience of the qualities needed to succeed to deliver a motivational address to the staff, parents and students at the celebratory event.
“When the team returned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a journalist asked Lizzie Yarnold, the first person to defend an Olympic gold in skeleton, if she thought the cost was worth it for a sport that only 120 people took part in across the country,” he told the audience.
“Lizzie got the gold medal out of her pocket, hung it round her neck and told him: ‘It wasn’t about the skeleton, it was about the 10 years of hard work I put in to achieve my dream’.”
He said Lizzie planned to take her medal to schools across the country “with a message that if you have a dream and apply yourself to it, there is no limit to what you can achieve”.
Sir Hugh, who presented certificates to all the prize winners, told them: “You are all here this evening because you have excelled in a particular area. You are either good at it or it is something you really want to do. And if it isn’t what you really want to do, then keep looking for that something, pursue it and make dreams possible.”
The former MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, who saw active service in Northern Ireland, the first Gulf war and Sarajevo, also praised “the team behind the team” – the staff, Head of School Anna Lawrence, governors, parents and relatives who “stood behind” the prize winners.
Students played a large part in the evening, which was introduced by Head Girl Ranjana Suresh and compered confidently by the school’s four student principals and vice principals, Cameron Hutchins, Alicia Drury, Lilly Ward and Callum Budden.
The top award winners in each year group were (year 7) - Owen Stuchbury, Jessica Knight, Josh Evans and Sharmonnie Garcha, (year 8) – Eden Dodson, Natasha Bell, Matthew Lewis and Jolie Fisher, (year 9) – Matthew Macey, Anna Nguyen, Edi Izivikic and Molly Wright and (year 10) – Samuel Whitebread, Eleanor Wong, Mahi Ferdous and Tej Gurung.
At the end of the evening Mrs Lawrence added her congratulations to the students and said they had demonstrated the importance of hard work and commitment.