I was honoured, yesterday, to present the awards and give a speech at my old school’s (The Campion School, Hornchurch) Junior Credits ceremony. The event, not the whole school Prize Giving as it was “in my day”, celebrates a wider range of achievement for boys in years 7, 8 & 9. School invites a Former Pupil back to do the job and, as they got wind of me now being a headmaster, I got the nod this year! However, I am in very august company, with far better known FPs such as John Briffa, Kevin Sorrell and Tony Diprose being past guests.
I had not expected to be in such position – to attempt to say something witty and wise to a hall full of boys & their parents – so soon. So what to say? Well I got off to a risky start when I told the audience that my old house was Garnet. Immediately alienating myself from 4/5ths of them! I recovered with a more serious reflection on the simple, unifying factor of all Campion Boys (and girls, now there are 60+ in the 6th form) and that is their quality as decent men ( and women). “A firm hand shake an good eye contact will take you far”. For a couple of hundred teenage boys to come up on stage and do just that (with just a few exceptions and “cheers, mate” will be addressed by Mr. Luck!), was exceptional testament to the standards set by the school and adhered to by the men.
Continuing the risky route I then pointed out the importance of balance between work and play and that the school provides so many opportunities to develop personally – music, arts, literature, sport. I pointed out that a man who can dance, cook, know poetry or play a musical instrument would be more popular with the fairer sex! A positive reaction – to say the least!
I then took the plunge and gave them my advice as a primary school teacher and invoked Robert Fulgham’s “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” Partly to deliver some humour, but also to demonstrate the importance of the simple things in life, it certainly provoked a good response. Especially when I told them how important it was to flush the toilet & wash hands before you eat!
A great day, made more so, when i discovered that the Headmaster, John Johnson – himself a Former Pupil – was a Leyton Orient season ticket holder.