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Ex-Head Boy Blog 5th July 2017

    24 July 2017


Good afternoon everybody. Today is a big day for me: the end of seven years here at Sherfield. It is a day of mixed emotions, and I am torn between the excitement of what is to come and the great sadness I feel at leaving. I wanted to use this platform to tell you all about what my life here has been like, and I hope that you can bear with a little sentimentality.


I joined Sherfield at the start of year seven in 2010. When I first visited the school, the sheer beauty of the building took my breath away. I remember bouncing around once I’d got home, so excited that I was going to Hogwarts. Well, there might not have been magic, but it was good enough for me. That might give you an insight into the sort of child I was. As has been said by my teacher Mrs Cross, I resembled a hyperactive spaniel puppy when I first joined, just one who asked a lot more questions. I’ve changed a lot in the past seven years, and whilst I have managed to put the puppy stage behind me, all of my teachers will agree that I have never stopped with the questions.


Some of the experiences that have helped me grow the most during my time here have been the trips run by the school. One such trip was the Arvon Foundation, which is a group that collaborates with schools and authors to improve children’s creative writing. I have many fond memories of these trips, not just working with the writers to hone my creative skills but also playing hide and seek and getting to know my peers and my teachers so well. Year 8 was, of course, another big trip year, as I travelled to Dubai to represent the U.K. in the modern world debates. To this day I still feel as if I haven't given Mr Ferrier the proper thanks he deserves for getting me to that point, and so I think it is due now before I am gone. To say the experience was magical would be an understatement. So many more experiences were had with the school, from the battlefields trip where every student got food poisoning on the last day, to the Paris trip on which I managed to secure a place despite speaking not a word of French. Every single one of these has a special place in my heart.

Of course, most of my time here was spent in school, learning, working and playing. My education has been only one aspect of this; but what a truly fantastic aspect it has been.  As I've already told you, questioning is my favourite past time, whether in a debate, a classroom or just in friendly conversation. Here at Sherfield, every question I’ve had has been answered, barring those in areas of science that haven't been researched yet, but I'm sure we can forgive my teachers for that. Without this, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I value it even more given how easy it could have been to just stifle my curiosity it at a young age.


There has been more to my time here than just academia though. This school is a community, and you can really feel that from the moment you get here. Our house system walks the fine line between competitive and friendly, and during my time as a house captain I found real pride for Wynstow which, by the way, did win the house cup for the second time in school history when I was on the team. I’m jesting, of course, because I know that every year the house that wins has won due to every member of its house, through good behaviour, exceptional performance and dedication: values that have become ingrained into school life. Drama also featured briefly in my time here, and I must extend a heartfelt thanks to Mr Reynolds for placing his faith in me when casting for school plays. Many of you have seen the high caliber of actors and actresses this school attracts, and to have been among their ranks was an honour and a pleasure.


The sixth form was an obvious extension for me after GCSEs, as I felt I would learn best in a familiar environment. I was worried initially about staying here and not meeting new people but I soon made friends with all the pupils who joined the sixth form from other schools and overseas and these past two years have been a fantastic foundation for the years to come. When I joined the sixth form two years ago, I was still quite immature and to begin with some of my anxieties came out negatively. Happily, this soon was eradicated, and I quickly became a big contributor to sixth form life. Having a relatively small group of us in the sixth form has driven me to become a better people person, and has allowed me to mature rapidly into the young man I am today. This last year in particular has had an enormous impact on me, mostly because of how full it’s been. University applications, the Biology Olympiad, the International Evening which so many of you attended, the Shoebox appeal, Comic Relief, the Dash for Ash, the list goes on. Of course, all this was tied together with the dark ribbon that was exams: pretty intense, as I’m sure you can imagine. To be free of them now is a great weight from my shoulders, even if my reward is just a ticket into the world of work, taxes and short holidays.


I have, however, mentioned that today is bittersweet. Looking into the crowd I am reminded of all of the people I will be leaving today. If I had the time, I would stand here and give a long list of thanks to all of the people who have contributed to my life here. Unfortunately, I can't. There are, however, three people here today that I do need to mention. Mrs Cross, Miss Huyton and Mr Westwood have taught me all three sciences for almost my entire time at the school. My successes should be taken as a testament to their teaching abilities, as it is their hours, days and years of invested time that have brought me to this point. I am going to sorely miss you, and whilst I might struggle to express it one on one, I can express it up here today. I of course do not mean to belittle the work of my other teachers; there have been those that have contributed equally as much in a shorter space of time. However, it is these three who have suffered with me the longest, and so it is them who I have chosen to celebrate today.


 And so ends the insight into my life at Sherfield. There could be volumes more, but I think what I have shared has given you a good outline. This brings me on to tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come. As many of you will be aware, I have a place with my name on it to study Biology at Oxford this Autumn. Not only will I be learning under the tutelage of the world’s finest scholars, but I will be gaining a wealth of opportunities, whether for my political ambitions through the Oxford Union, or my scientific ones though my professors. All work and no play is no true life, however, and as a way of marking my transition from child to adult I will be travelling to Japan with my friend Rana this summer. The three week trip will see us travelling around the country, and will allow me to experience one of my favourite cultures of the world. I am sure it will pay dividends in future job interviews. Apart from that, my future is fairly fluid. With my degree choice the world is really my oyster, with biotech being the next big thing, although as I have mentioned I might be swayed to the world of politics. It is, however, time to bring thing back to the here and now. I will be passing the baton of Head Boy this year to our remarkable duo Miles Bromilow and Eleanor Smith. To say I have high hopes for them would be an understatement, as they are on course to surpass me in all ways as Head Boy and Head Girl.


So too do I have great faith in Mr Fisher, whose vision for the school is very much in line with my own. The future is bright both for me and for Sherfield, something that I hope you will all benefit from. With that, I shall say thank you for listening, and I hope that I have been able to have a positive impact on your time here at Sherfield.


Thomas Jenkins, Year 13, Head Boy

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