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June 30th 2014

Elder Mishal Husain speaks at Festival Day

Cobham Hall’s end of year prize giving ceremony, Festival Day, was particularly memorable as the girls’ independent day and boarding school welcomed back BBC journalist and presenter and former pupil, Mishal Husain, as the event’s guest speaker.

Addressing an audience of approximately 400 students, staff, parents and friends of Cobham Hall, Ms Husain first spoke about the impact the school had on her as a student.

“This school moulded me in more ways than I can ever express and I owe it an immense debt of gratitude, for the many subjects and interests it allowed me to explore, for confidence that it enabled me to develop, for the sense of internationalism that later became a hallmark of my own professional life, the friends I made here and most of all the teaching environment that enabled me to flourish,” she said.

“To all the teachers who developed my mind here and exposed me to great ideas, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

She went on to give an insight into her professional life and gave the assembled students much sound practical advice for their lives after school, advocating having a five year plan with an emphasis on three particular areas.

She placed value on financial independence, encouraged girls to take advantage of the information age in which they are growing up and to read around their passions.

Finally she advised them to be mindful of how they presented themselves both in person and in the digital world, giving them a refreshing perspective on positive use of social media to enhance career opportunities.

“To the Cobham girls of today, I’d like to say this: you have your lives ahead of you. You have a head start in life, compared to many people in this country and in other countries. Now it is up to you to make the most of it. And achieving your full potential involves laying the ground work now for the strong young women you will one day be, ready to make your mark on your chosen profession,” she said.

Following her speech, Ms Husain presented prizes to the students who had excelled in various areas during the school year, including subjects from Mathematic, English, and the Sciences to sport, art, music and drama and for those who made particular contributions to the school and its Round Square ethos.

Other highlights of the day included Headmaster Mr Mitchell’s speech, in which he talked about Round Square and the development of character through a well-rounded education, rather than focussing on only one or two specialist areas. He also spoke of the significant investment into the school’s facilities which will mostly take place during the summer holidays. Meanwhile, Isla, the outgoing Guardian (Head girl), reflected on her time at the school and drama and music students provided poetic and choral entertainment.

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