Academy Awards at Kings
18th September, 2012 by Jude Owens
Last Thursday (13 September 2012) The Kings of Wessex Academy held its 36th Annual Awards evening to celebrate the academic year 2011-2012 when the audience of student award winners, parents, staff and friends of Kings joined together for this special occasion.
Over 250 awards were presented for academic high achievement in the GCSE, AS Level and 'A' Level examinations; Subject and Tutor Awards; 100% Attendance; Work Experience placements as well as an abundance of Special Awards for contribution to the life of Kings.
In his speech, Headteacher Mr Chris Richardson looked back on "another great year here at Kings" beginning with the excellent exam results. At GCSE, a record-equalling achievement of 91% students achieved five or more Grades A* to C, with 65% at Grades A* to C including English and Maths, and 26% awarded the top grades of A*/A. At 'A' Level this year, the overall pass rate rose to 99%, with a quarter awarded Grades A*/A; and nearly a quarter at AS Level and over 60% at Grade C or above.
Highlighting the labour market changes and increase in competition for jobs, Mr Richardson talked about the focus at Kings to prepare students via job talks and futures meetings, and wished every success to those students embarking on university courses, a gap year or into the world of work.
Celebrating last year, Mr Richardson selected highlights from the exciting trips and visits on offer, including the Operation Wallacea trip to Indonesia; Disneyland Paris; Auschwitz Concentration camps in Poland; the Battlefields of Northern France and Belgium - and closer to home trips to Bristol Zoo; Perth-y-Pia in the Welsh Black Mountains; the Imperial War Museum to name but a few. Along with sporting triumphs; the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme; drama productions of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and Willy Russell's "Our Day Out", the Kings and Queens News Team and annual Charities Week extravaganza, which raised an impressive £9,000 in one week.
Mr Richardson praised community champions IT for the Terrified and Cheddar Arts based on the Kings campus and celebrated the flourishing Christian dimension through the assembly programme, church services at St Andrew's here in Cheddar, Christian Union and recalled a visit from the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
Mr Richardson expressed "an enormous gratitude to all the staff at Kings" for their "dedication, commitment and professionalism that are at the heart of our Academy's success". He also thanked parents, Governors, the Parents Teacher Association, colleagues in the Cheddar Valley Schools, Rotary Club of Mendip and members of the wider community for their support. Finally, he thanked the students, "for their energy, enthusiasm and commitment and for all that they do for their Academy."
This year's Guest Speaker was Mr Kerry Rickards, Chief Executive of Sedgemoor Council who encouraged parents to say well done and for children to take some time from "twittering, texting, face booking, g-mailing or emailing..." and praised Kings staff and students for their success in this year's exams. Citing Greek philosopher Epicetetus, American author Napoleon Hill and Yogi Berra Mr Rickards urged students to secure good qualifications, be on time, be adaptable and good communicators, "and to go for gold." Because "Practical dreamers do not quit".
Chair of Governors Mr Peter Lythgoe chaired the evening and Deputy and Assistant Headteachers Ms Barbara Marshall and Mr Christian Hughes compèred the ceremony with panache and fond introductions to student award winners.
Awards were numerous and notable. Star student Christopher Holt was honoured with The Kings of Wessex Shield for his participation in and contribution to academy life. Lucy Laken was awarded the Jill James Cup for Enthusiasm, Lilly Helps the Hardy Award for Good Citizenship and Lindsay Rogers the Zoe Gertner Cup as the outstanding student of Year 9. George Penwarden received the Mathematics Award, Ben Voice the Jubilee Baton for Music and William Jonas the History Award. Many awards are a legacy from friends of the Academy, amongst which, the Bev Hearn Cup for Photography awarded to Katy Bradley, the Peter Corrick Computer awarded to Ben De Ivey and the Richard Barnes Drama Cup to Chelsie Bailey.
Last year's Senior Student Team were celebrated with the Downey Cup for Service to the Academy: Head Boy Lewis Jones, and Head Girl Laura Weigold, along with their Deputies: Adam Clegg, Adam Green, Max Hope-Stone Bell, Lewis Podpadec, Scott Virgo and Chloe Kitching, Elizabeth Nash, Claire Tidswell, Alice Would and Olivia Yates. Retiring Governor Mr Simon Tomes was honoured with the Community Award for his services to the Governing Body over many years and as a champion of Special Educational Needs at Kings.
Entertainment was provided by the Kings' Brass Ensemble with a stirring performance of "Hallelujah Drive" and "Stepping Out" by Chris Hazell, conducted by Anne Higgs. Harriet Lucas gave a beautifully-tingling rendition of Taylor Swift's "Safe and Sound"; whilst Harry Bishop concluded the evening's entertainment with a lulling, then jaunty performance of "Concerto for Trombone Movement 2" by Rimsky-Korsakov on the trombone.
This year's Head Boy and Girl Joel Butcher and Elizabeth Bradley gave a heartfelt vote of thanks to students for their achievements, and to staff and parents for encouraging and valuing their individual talents and bringing out their best.
Commenting on the evening Mr Richardson said: "Our Awards Evening is a wonderful tradition at Kings and I was proud to see so many students receive awards as the culmination of their hard work and enthusiasm in their studies. I thank staff and parents for all their encouragement here at the Academy and at home. Congratulations everyone!"