Carpe Diem

In my opening Assembly of the year, I told pupils that they “will never again be presented with as many co-curricular opportunities as you are at Wellington”, and I urged them to take advantage of every opportunity and leave the College with no regrets at the end of their time here.  It has therefore been a source of great pleasure to me to see so many pupils availing themselves of the remarkable opportunities outside the classroom over the past seven days and I hope that you will therefore forgive me for using this week’s Master’s Voice to feature some of the highlights of the past week.

On Friday, the Member of Parliament for Bracknell, Dr Phillip Lee, spoke to a packed audience of pupils and staff about Brexit, his defection to the Liberal Democrats and the future of British politics. This followed a talk by Robert Hardman (OW) on Monday about his life in journalism and documentary-making, particularly regarding the Royal Family.  We also look forward to welcoming Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads and Professor of World History at Oxford University, who will be addressing the topic of ‘The end of history: the futility of studying the past’ on Monday.

The Chapel Choir were in sparkling form on Tuesday evening as they performed Evensong at Guildford Cathedral. Next week’s cultural highlight is the musical Medea, written and directed by our very own Hayley Canham (U6 O) which takes place in the GWA – please don’t miss it. In sport, the golfers travelled to Scotland to play on the Dundonald Links, the triathletes swam, cycled and ran their way around Brighton, the boys’ football team won their first round match in the ISFA cup 3-0, the girls’ hockey side did the same 8-0 in the national cup, and Saturday saw a full set of fixtures against Whitgift, Bradfield, Surbiton High and Gordon’s. Most poignant, of course, was the Seb Adeniran-Olule Memorial match. Seb had been a pupil at both Whitgift and Wellington, and was enjoying a fledgling career at Harlequins when he died tragically in a car accident aged just 20. He would have been proud of the Wellington performance which saw the 1st XV come out 31-8 winners.

Saturday morning also saw three opportunities for parents to get a taste of Wellington life: a Magic of Maths masterclass on the geometry of origami, a parental Art Masterclass, and the return of the wonderful Wellington Parent Singers. If any of these opportunities appeal, please do consult your ‘What’s On’ guide from the Wellington Community office. Carpe diem applies equally to Wellington parents as it does to our pupils!

Finally, I must highlight the remarkable 24-hour Danceathon organised by Lottie Leach (U6 C) last Thursday/Friday in aid of the mental health charity Mind. Hundreds of Wellingtonians supported this initiative by donating money and boogying in the Old Gym. Lottie aimed to raised £1500 but ended up closer to £3000 thanks to the generosity and support of the Wellington Community. I am so grateful that a spotlight has been shone on this crucial issue at the beginning of the academic year and am pleased to announce that we will be organising a Mental Health Day on Saturday 8 February full of speakers, workshops and talks for pupils, staff and parents. Watch this space for further details.

Life at Wellington therefore remains as busy, purposeful and exciting as ever. As Master, I am proud that the College is so much more than just a school, and all I ask the pupils is to seize the day…

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