A Nostalgic Celebration: Monmouth School for Boys’ Speech Day

July 8, 2024

Monmouth School for Boys’ Speech Day was a poignant celebration, reflecting on years of tradition and success. The day commenced with a moving commemoration service at The Priory Church of St. Mary the Virgin, where the school choir delivered a stirring performance of George Dyson’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (in D). 

In his address, Headmaster Simon Dorman highlighted the remarkable achievements of the past year. He expressed immense pride in his students, celebrating their broad spectrum of successes across academics, sports, and extracurricular activities. From the hard work and diligence shown in the classroom to impressive performances in regional and national sports competitions, the students have showcased their talents and dedication. As Monmouth School for Boys prepares to embark on its new journey as a co-educational institution, Mr. Dorman emphasised the exciting opportunities ahead. He spoke enthusiastically about embracing change and the promise of new state-of-the-art facilities, which will enhance the learning environment and support continued excellence. 

Head of School, Oliver, captivated the audience with his candid and humorous speech. Despite his self-professed lack of skill in rugby and cricket, he shared his passion for kayaking, nurtured by Mr Harrison. Using the nearby River Wye as an analogy, he likened his school journey to navigating a river. The upper section of the river, being fast flowing with patches of white water, twists, and turns, is like the learning curves of youth, while the lower section of the river is like the Sixth Form: calm and wide in its offering. He illustrated the significance of self-correction and perseverance through the metaphor of mastering the combat roll in kayaking. 

We were honoured to have Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, DBE, multi-paralympic gold medallist  as our keynote speaker. Baroness Grey-Thompson offered an inspiring reflection on overcoming adversity. Recalling her parents’ determination to enrol her in mainstream education despite her disability, she underscored the importance of gratitude, giving back, and cherishing school days. She recounted the London Paralympics as the pinnacle of her sporting career, urging students to look forward with confidence and excitement. 

Rupert Elliott, Master of the Haberdashers’ Company, added a touch of humour, comparing his speaking position, coming straight after the Head Boy and Baroness Grey-Thompson, to Richard Burton’s comment about his second marriage to Elizabeth Taylor, “I know what is expected of me, I just don’t know how to make it interesting.” Mr Elliott’s message emphasised the lifelong support and community of the Haberdashers, reinforcing the enduring bonds of the school’s alumni. 

The Lord Moynihan, Chair of Governors, concluded with an enthusiastic outlook on the future of the newly unified school. He emphasised the unwavering commitment to academic excellence and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, ensuring that the legacy of Monmouth School for Boys will continue to flourish in its new chapter. 

The day also served as a heartfelt farewell to several esteemed staff members and as the final Speech Day ended, the sentiment was one of nostalgic celebration and hopeful anticipation. The day encapsulated the rich history and spirit of the school, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended.