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July 02nd 2018

Celebrating an All-Round Education

The sun shone as Parents and Guardians gathered in the garden of Rose Cottage, the on-site residence of the Headmistress, for tea and coffee before the annual prize-giving ceremony of Festival Day started. Chatter and laughter filled the air as our school community gathered.

The prize-giving ceremony was opened by Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Pennell, who reflected on the year, and gave thanks to Dr Coates-Smith for taking on the role of Headmistress for this academic year.  Dr Coates-Smith gave a moving speech about her time at the School, the importance of an all-girls education, and reflecting on fond memories.

Our guest speaker this year was Elder Josceline Cluff. Josceline is now Programme Director at All Hands, a volunteer-powered disaster relief organisation dedicated to rebuilding hope for people impacted by natural disasters all over the world. She explained her motivation to help those in desperate need, and of the process of providing relief, from immediate response, through aiding recovery, to assisting with rebuilding. Her honest, warm speech reminded those assembled that often simply the presence of international volunteers is key for those in need to know they have not been forgotten and that people do care for their plight.  Josceline spoke of the School’s Round Square ethos, the importance of developing compassion and empathy, and of taking the opportunity to experience as many things as possible, and ended with some key advice for our current students. This included learning languages, being brave, and using the time over the summer holidays to gain experiences to help discover who they are, and what they want to achieve. Josceline assisted in handed out prizes to students, celebrating achievements in academia, Art, Drama, Music and Sport across the School.  Many girls took the opportunity after the ceremony to speak to Josceline in greater detail, inspired by her words and her work.

The prize-giving was followed by a speech from outgoing Guardian Lillie, who as well as giving thanks to staff and reflecting on her time here, described Cobham Hall as a home, and encouraged girls to continue making memories.  

The formal part of the day came to close with a dramatic reading, a performance from the choir of songs from the Summer Music Concert, and the School song, introduced by Guardian Hannah, who also presented gifts to Dr Coates-Smith and Josceline Cluff.

Assembled guests then headed to Lady Darnley’s Garden, to celebrate achievements in the sunshine, share gifts and say a fond farewell.  To those leaving us this year, good luck in the next chapter of your life, and to those returning, we look forward to seeing you in September for another year of memories!

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