Head Boy Sam Ashbridge’s address on Prize Day
Last year’s Head Boy Sam Ashbridge’s address on Prize Day
“Lord Mayor, governors, esteemed guests, headmaster, ladies and gentlemen, fellow students, Isaac Newton once wrote “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” He meant that each successive generation will learn more, understand more and discover more than any of their predecessors; not because of improved intelligence, but because they have been influenced, encouraged, and given a platform to do so by those who have lived before them. I am honoured to stand here today to thank CLFS for being the metaphorical giants’ shoulder that we have stood upon, and for inspiring and motivating us into becoming who and what we are today.
I have always felt that the role of Head Boy is not merely a symbolic one, but is in fact to represent the views, beliefs and opinions of all the students: a task that would have been insurmountable alone. I therefore extend my enormous gratitude to the Head Girl Lily Latimer-Smith, deputies Tom Jacobs and Stephanie Elstub, Senior Prefect Nick Attree, and the fantastic Prefect team, whose unwavering support, no matter the circumstances, has made each and every task easier and more manageable. You are all exceptional individuals who will go far in life: I wish you all the best. To the Senior Leadership Team, thank you for teaching me invaluable skills that I will carry with me throughout my life, and for the wonderful opportunity you gave me: I hope I have done you proud. And, finally, to my family, for always being incredibly patient, kind and loving in more ways that it is possible to reconcile: I am incredibly lucky to have you.
Although written in 1865, Alice falling down the rabbit hole in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is an experience that I’m sure many of our generation can relate to: with more serious, arduous and crucial decisions to make than any of our predecessors, it is easy, like Alice, to feel bewildered and perplexed, with little idea of what is going on, where we are going, or what we will face when we get there. However, if youth is like the rabbit hole, then CLFS is Wonderland; successfully guiding and navigating us through the thrilling and exhilarating, albeit challenging, journey of maturity from childhood to adulthood.
There is one word, I feel, that differentiates us from most other schools: care. The teachers here are far more than just teachers: they are inspirers; going beyond the call of duty to make us the best possible students we can be. But life, and school, is far more than just what we achieve academically: at the heart of CLFS’s mantra is developing a rounded person and equipping us with the skills that we will require for the future.
Nevertheless, there are many challenges we will face that no amount of preparation can ready us for. The World Economic Forum believes it will currently take 118 years, or until 2134, for women to receive the equal pay to men, whilst racist and homophobic hate crimes have increased 1/5th in the last year alone. The last lines of King Lear are “we that are young shall never see so much, nor live so long.” None of us make it out of this world alive, so in one so divided, where it seems that there is such a degree of hatred, bitterness and contempt, we, as a generation, need to be gallant, be great, be gracious, be grateful for the fantastic opportunities we have been given, for the shoulders of giants that we currently stand upon, and use them to become the giants who will define and change the future; to create a world that is just and fair; a world in which people no longer live in fear of discrimination for their colour, gender, sexual orientation or appearance; a world that is full of sensitivity, kindness and goodness. We need to learn from those who have walked before us; encourage those who walk beside us, and inspire those who will walk in front of us.