Rydal Penrhos’ latest Prep Speech Day on Friday 30 June 2023 brought together pupils, parents, teachers, staff, Governors, family, and friends to commemorate the achievements of our pupils over the past academic year.
The ceremony, held in the historic Memorial Hall, commenced with some style as Prep pupils gracefully entered, singing along to the much-beloved hymn, ‘One More Step’. As the tremendous singing drew to a close, Mrs Anne Watson, Vice-Chair of Governors, took to the stage to extend a warm welcome to all and say some kind words about our brilliant Prep pupils.
School Chaplain Rev’d Dr Rob Beamish led a heartfelt prayer and offered his customary wisdom and insights before Deputy Principal and Head of Prep, Mrs. Lucy Davies, took the stage.
Mrs Davies enlightened the audience about the historical significance of teachers wearing gowns, now primarily reserved for ceremonial events like Speech Day. This all served the central message that parents and teachers play a pivotal role in shaping children’s lives. In a touching moment of gratitude, the pupils rose to their feet, applauding their teachers and waving to their parents, taking a moment to express their appreciation.
Following Mrs Davies’ address, the Prep Choir gathered on stage to perform ‘The Fruits of the Land’ by David Ogden. Accompanied by the talented new Director of Music, Mr McGuinness, the choir enchanted the audience with their harmonious voices, which garnered so much praise at the Prep Spring Concert earlier in the year.
Each year group then had the opportunity to receive their prizes and perform a specially prepared song. The Reception class, led by Mrs Devilleforte, delighted the audience with their rendition of “Magic Penny.” Mrs. Woodthorpe’s Year 1 pupils followed suit, singing “While We Live We Learn.” Year 2 pupils went a step further, not only singing but also presenting a poem they had crafted themselves. Titled “Ffrindiau,” meaning “Friends” in Welsh, the poem celebrated the qualities and strengths that the pupils recognized in one another.
Before the Year 3 prize distribution, the Principal’s Address and House Reports took centre stage. The house captains of Brecon, Pembroke, and Snowdon houses stepped forward one by one to enlighten the Prep community about their respective houses’ achievements over the past year.
As Snowdon House Captains Beatrice Brookes-Fazakerley and Archie-Glyn Chesworth concluded their informative reports, Mrs Davies surprised them by announcing that Snowdon had secured the highly-coveted House Cup. The Snowdon contingent erupted in celebration, while we are sure Brecon and Pembroke will already be planning their comeback for next year!
Executive Principal Mr Waszek then addressed the pupils, drawing an analogy with pupils’ close bonds with their pets to underline the unconditional love and support the Rydal Penrhos community will always show its pupils.
The prize-giving then resumed as Mrs Oliver presented the Year 3 prizes, followed by Mr McLeod presenting the Year 4 prizes, and Mrs. Chamberlain handing out the Year 5 prizes. After the distribution of prizes for Years 3 to 5, all three year groups joined forces to perform a captivating musical number from their latest production, The Mystery at Magpie Manor. It was a welcome return of a song that has stuck in the heads of pupils and parents alike!
Following the Eco Committee Report, the Year 6 Sports Prizes were presented by the Year 6 form tutor and Prep Sports Teacher, Mrs Pyves. Well done to all the award winners; special mention should go to Clara Donohue and Elicia Williams, who secured the Shield for Overall Progress in Sport.
Alexandra Lopez Moreno, the Mental Health and Well-Being Champion, took the stage next to deliver the Wellbeing Report. She highlighted the significant strides made in terms of pupil involvement in the well-being process. The Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme has achieved noteworthy progress, leading to Rydal Penrhos Prep being recognized as a case study example by the Diana Award, an anti-bullying charity.
Mr. Waszek then presented Year 6 with the Subject Prizes, before the Year 6 Heads’ Prizes were awarded by Mrs Watson.
Jack Stutchfield won the prestigious Rydal Penrhos Carpe Diem Trophy, while Harrison Hogan received the Rydal Penrhos Citizenship Award. Buddy Thompson was honoured with the Rydal Penrhos Award for Overall Progress, and Alexandra Lopez-Moreno was presented with the Rydal Penrhos Head Teacher’s Prize Bowl.
The illustrious Prep Head Boy and Prep Head Girl trophies were finally awarded to Ela Lloyd-Bloom and Harrison Simmons, respectively. The dynamic duo then delivered the traditional Heads of School address, exhibiting exceptional public speaking skills as they reflected on various aspects of their time in the Prep School. It was a fitting end to a brilliant tenure at the top of the school; thank you to both on being such wonderful role models for their peers.
The morning concluded on a melodious note as Year 6 students captivated the audience with their rendition of “Any Dream Will Do,” followed by the entire school joining together in singing “Calon Lan,” the traditional Welsh hymn that has become synonymous with any occasion for celebration at Rydal Penrhos.