School celebrates milestone in style

Prize winners group photo SUS-140429-170537001
Prize winners group photo SUS-140429-170537001

To mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Steyning Grammar School, this year’s College Reflections service was held at the Dome in Worthing for over 500 students, staff, governors and members of the wider community who have enjoyed working with the Sixth Form College.

The red carpet was rolled out in true Oscar style as guests arrived to this splendid location bedecked with balloons lining the entrance in school colours of red, white and blue.

The service started with a film shown on the big screen encapsulating the remarkable changes from 1614 when Steyning Grammar School was founded.

From humble beginning with a handful of boys who had a formal classical education in a candle-lit classroom to todays split site campus with over 2,000 students, where boys and girls can study a vast range of subjects and an international boarding house that flourishes.

Students were further enlightened on aspects of the schools more recent history with reminiscences from two highly respected colleagues, Mr Ellis, former Head of Science and Mr Buckwell, former Head of Maths who have both inspired generations of learners over the last 40 years with their passion and enthusiasm.

In this special celebratory year current students who have selflessly given their time to the College and wider community, beyond that of their academic studies, were nominated for with awards revealed from golden envelopes.

Creativity - Paul Holt Memorial Sculpture to William Redfern and George Clark and the Weaver Musical Advancement Award to Zofia Reeves.

Innovation Awards- As a result of outstanding business acumen and tenacity as a member of the Young Enterprise Scheme to James Hansford and for being stalwarts of the paired Reading Scheme assisting younger learners, to Imogen Peters and Suelae Robinson.

Resilience Award- Outset Community Volunteering, students who have volunteered for 20 hours or more received certificates.

This included peer education and reading, volunteering in local hospitals, charity shops, clubs for those with disabilities and local conservation projects.

A special award went to Arnau Devis-Peiro for his volunteering work of over 100 hours for St John Ambulance and at local care homes for the elderly. John Stevenson, Governor and representative from the Millennium Trust presented Year 12 student Jack Maylam with the Millennium Trust Award of £250 which Jack will use to support his continued studies in the next stage of his Sixth Form career.

This was for being the best he could be, seen by others to sparkle in spite of difficulties and for his outstanding commitment to the wider life of the Sixth Form College.

Open Minded Awards - Presented to Jamie Luxford and Isabel Green for their contributions as member of the Wilton Park Reading Party and Daniel Freer for his leadership of the Chaplaincy Team in Boarding and the Colleges Christian Union.

Decision Making Award - A special commendation went to Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award student Luke Knight who was the first to complete the whole qualification during his stay in the Sixth Form College. A further four students were commended as they too now await their visit to Buckingham Palace to receive their Gold Awards.

Can-Do Mind-set Award - Presented to Samuel Penhallow in recognition of being the International Baccalaureate (IB) student who has personified all aspects of the IB learner Profile themes: Open Minded, Reflective, Thinker, Caring, Risk Taker, Principled, Communicator, Balanced and Inquirer.

Caring Award - Steyning Grammar School Sixth Form College celebrated a record charity fund raising year with over £8,000 raised for their chosen charities, including the, Blood Runners, St Barnabas Hospice (£314.25), Sports Relief, Macmillan Cancer Trust (£1,036), Malawi School Appeal and Cancer Research UK (£5,000).

Cheques were presented by Head Boy and Head Girl and their Deputies. Chair of this year’s Charity Committee, Jessica Thomas was given the Caring Award in recognition of her outstanding drive, kindness and concern for improving the lives of others on a local, national and international scale.

Team Working Awards - Mr L Talbot, Director of Sport reviewed the sporting year with the Football, Rugby, Dance and Netball Teams. Individual awards were made; Gary Reeve Memorial Cup to Liam Vickery and the Tim Roberts Memorial Cup to Alex Cann. The football and rugby teams award were commended as much for their commitment off the field as on the field including their rendition of ‘Gangnam Style’ in pink tutus in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Nine of the Sixth Form College students who took part in the Brighton Half Marathon in aid of a range of charities were also recognised for their Team Working.

Katie Duke, Tom Edwards, Jessica Sayers, Megan Friedli and Eden Shaw have all been inspirational in their roles as team co-ordinators in the Arts, Debating, The SGS 400 Quilt Project and peer Education.

Leadership Awards - We were delighted to be joined by former Head Boys and Girls, their Deputies and the Head Boys and girls of Boarding whose names have been detailed on a new commemorative honours board to mark the schools 400th Anniversary.

Current Head Boy, Jack Crossfield, Head Girl, Holly Duckett, Deputy Head Girl Holly Kool and Deputy Head Boy Harry Diserns passed over the leadership baton to newly elected student officers for 2014/15: Head Boy, Ross Cusdin, Deputy Head Boys, William Carey and Christopher Nixon, Head Girl, Olivia Cleary and Deputy Head Girl, Isabelle Green.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Headteacher Mr Wergan, was proud to dedicate this highest honour of sustained excellence to the School, its many young people and staff who belong to the ‘Steyning Family’ and for whom Steyning Grammar School holds a special place in their hearts.

Mr Wergan said: “The event was a fantastic showcase of our student talent – we are all tremendously proud of our students’ achievements and have every faith in the very positive impact they will make now in the world outside school. In our 400th anniversary year the school itself had to be the recipient of our lifetime achievement award – students were delighted to recognise the achievements of their school, and it was a real pleasure to see our former head boy and head girl teams back to share in that pride.”

Former student officers led the lighting of the candles on a huge cake to the backdrop of fireworks and the singing of Happy Birthday. A special blessing was given by School Chaplain, Revd. P Butchers to commemorate the schools 400th year.

Notable performances by Steyning Has Talent winning vocalists 2013, Feyi Bello who sang ‘And I am telling you’ and winner for 2014, Oliver de Savigny who performed his own song ‘Son’.

Mrs Randall, Director of the Sixth Form College (Assistant Head) spoke of the Colleges pride and thanks for the way in which students had left a lasting legacy for future students who will relish the chance to be part of this amazing journey of growing a great school.

“Our Reflections 2014 has evidenced just how well our students have strived to be the best they can be and achieve personal bests in so many areas of their lives; they have done much to be proud of as young men and women growing in stature and resilience” said Mrs Randall

Report and pictures contributed by Steyning Grammar School.