THE END of year leavers’ assembly at Bere Alston saw awards unearthed from the back of the cupboard after many decades presented anew to current pupils.
Headteacher Gareth Bemister handed out trophies and shields to gifted children, those who had achieved in the face of adversity and pupils who excelled in following the school’s behaviour and attitude values.
The assembly also recognised the school’s ‘friends’ organisation which raises funds and the volunteers and the trust which partly owns the school and funds extracurricular activities and items. Two teachers who are retiring after working at the school for 32 years and 23 years respectively were also thanked – and they in their turn handed out new trophies named after them to deserving children.
Mr Bemister told the assembly: “We have fantastic children here. We are all incredibly proud of of all the children. This is the end of my first year at the school in my first job as headteacher and I have been so amazed at what all of you achieve. You all give your all, despite personal challenges.”
The Griffith Cup for academic excellence was handed to Nieve Abbott for her outstanding achievements. Mr Bemister said: “This award is for academic excellence and Nieve always smashes it in whatever she puts her mind to and whatever she does. She is a high achiever and has high ability. We have high hopes for her in the future. Whatever she does in the future she will do to the best of her ability and that is a very high standard.”
The Stephen John Vallance Trophy was presented by Graham Vallance who gave the school the trophy in memory of his son Stephen who died young.
Mr Vallance and his grandson Adam, from the school, presented the trophy to Leo Law. Mr Bemister explained: “Mr Vallance wanted to give it to someone who goes about the school every day doing the right thing. That means they are unrecognised otherwise, for helping everyone whenever they see something needs to be done.”
Teacher Jo Watson, retiring after 23 years presented the new Watson Cup to Guy Laubscher — the boy who most represents the school values of being gentle, kind, polite, respectful of property and honest. Teacher Jane Brown, retiring after 32 years shaping PE and sport, presented the Brown Trophy (named after her) to the girl who follows the same values — Effie Piper.
A special award, created in the name of the school’s founder Sir John Maynard and the trust set up to help support the school, was presented to brothers Daniel and Nathan Browne for their ‘achievements in adversity’. Mr Bemister said: “These two brothers have moved from the other side of the world with their family and left behind relatives and friends. They constantly amaze me at how well they’ve thrived despite this and how they’ve got stuck into so many aspects of school life.”
The final award was given to Poppy Babb by Hilary Boot-Handford for her outstanding contribution to school life, through their attitude to staff and other pupils.