King William’s College Principal, Damian Henderson, reflected on his first academic year as Principal and the successes of the departing Upper Sixth at this year’s Founders’ Day celebrations and prize giving.

Speaking to the Upper Sixth, Mr Henderson commended them on their kindness and successes during their time at King William’s College:

“Our departing Upper Sixth are a particularly kind and well-behaved group of students, very respectful of each other and their teachers. They have contributed richly to school life, and given their all for the badge, epitomising the school motto ‘by industry not sloth’. They are also a clever cohort – six of them got straight A*s in their GCSEs, and many of them are holding offers from top universities in the UK and around the world. Great things await them in academia and work.”

He added:

“There are quiet leaders within this very talented Upper Sixth year group. There was a particularly effective group of Praepositors. We met regularly over the year and they were very patient with me in my first year as Principal, explaining how the school worked, reflecting back the mood of the student population and suggesting needed improvements. It goes without saying that skilful leadership is desperately needed in the world at the moment, and we look forward to seeing what you make of the leadership experiences that College has given you.”

Outgoing Head of School, Bella Kelsey, also delivered an engaging speech, paying tribute to the community spirit of her year group as they helped each other navigate their challenging but rewarding Sixth Form journey.

During the celebrations, Governor and Chair of Nursery Committee, Elaine Higgins, spoke on behalf of Peter Clucas, Chairman of Governors. She commented on Mr Henderson’s first year as Principal:

“I find it hard to believe that Damian is still only in his first year with us. I and all the Governors have been impressed by his ability in a relatively short space of time to listen and learn, to absorb what is good and great about our school community, but always with a thought to what can and should be delivered in a different way. The Governors have every confidence that we will deliver change and significant improvements to all aspects of school life under Damian’s leadership.”

Mrs Higgins also commented on the bold proposal announced earlier this year to bring together The Buchan School and King William’s College onto one campus:

“It is our total belief that this initiative will work to the advantage of everyone and allow us to continue to work towards yet higher standards of excellence and a yet wider choice of opportunities for a generation of pupils into the future. We should now move forward with energy and confidence to implement changes which will benefit our pupils, our parent body and our loyal and hardworking staff. Foremost in our thinking is that any changes, when delivered, must deliver a first-class modern independent education of which the Island can be proud, and which can hold its own with competitors. Now is the time to act with confidence and build together a plan to invest in all aspects of our school life.”

In attendance was the Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Lorimer. His Excellency is the Chairman of Council Members of the Bishop Barrow’s Foundation. The Bishop Barrow’s Foundation formed the base from which the College was built. Mrs Higgins commented:

“Founders’ Day, by its very name, is an important day in the year of the school.  It is a day that lends itself to reflection on past achievements. We should never forget to take inspiration from the vision of those who worked tirelessly to bring the legacy of Bishop Barrow to fruition. It is by reminding ourselves of the achievements of our founders, and the obstacles which they faced and overcame simply to be able to build and open our great school in 1833, that we should be bold in wanting to maintain the best of their vision long into the future.”

This year, the College was also delighted to welcome Verity MacLeod as guest of honour. Verity was a student at the College from 1987 to 1999 and has forged a successful career in television on Coronation Street. Working in both the production office and script department, Verity found her passion in scriptwriting and has gone on to rise through the ranks of script editing, culminating in being made the first Script Producer as the show began to air for six episodes a week. She is now Assistant Producer for the long-running soap.

Verity commented on her fond memories of her time at College and the importance of storytelling in our students’ everyday lives. She said:

“Stories create a sense of communion and community. Sharing stories and talking about them with our peers brings us together, gives us a moment of solidarity, connection and common experience that creates a feeling of togetherness. It is also an essential part of many and varied sectors of the professional world. No one in the world can escape storytelling – it’s at the heart of our everyday lives.”

Addressing our departing students, Verity concluded:

“I hope you can see why I chose to talk about storytelling today. It is such a fundamental part of all our lives, and my passion for it began right here at King William’s College. To the Upper Sixth leavers, I hope you depart King William’s College and go on to listen to, watch, read, compose and share beautiful stories – it really will enrich the story of your lives which you are about to go on to write.”

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