A successful barrister and judge returned to her old school to give a moving speech about the importance of making lifelong memories with your friends.
Rebecca Harrington was back at Inglefield House on Friday as guest speaker at this year’s Speech Day and Prize-Giving event.
As well as handing out prizes to pupils in Years 3 to 6 for an array of outstanding achievements, the immigration and asylum judge talked to girls, parents, staff and governors about her own amusing memories of life at HMSG.
She said: “You are all very lucky to be able to attend this fabulous school. I came back here in June for on Old Girls’ reunion, 20 years after I left school. On our tour we discovered so much had changed – new buildings had popped up, the sludge maroon had been replaced with hot pink. Yet despite the changes, wherever we went we were flooded with memories and stories.”
Rebecca had heard all about Inglefield’s recent dance show, The Archives, which was created to celebrate HMSG’s 125th anniversary.
She added: “I know the girls have been looking back into the archives, so let me put some meat on the bones of the facts they discovered. The sports hall was opened when I was in the prep school and I was one of a team selected to play the very first match in it as part of the official opening celebrations. We played against a team of builders who had built the hall. They had height and strength on their side, and our secret weapon was that we had actually played netball before. It was a very closely-fought match, but we won.”
She also remembered an explosive moment in the science block which led to her being called ‘the girl who tried to burn down the new biology lab’ for the remainder of her school career.
Rebecca finished with: “Your memories will shape the person you become, they provide you with happy, sad, and funny things to draw upon as you go forward.”
History was made as Grange boys became part of Inglefield’s Speech Day proceedings for the first time.
Vocalists from the girls’ prep were joined by Prep III from their brother school to perform harmonious renditions of Nkosi Sikelele and Sing by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The schools have been working closely to create more and more opportunities for the girls and boys to unite in social and co-curricular activities.
Hilary Phillips, Headmistress of Inglefield House, said: “There’s something really special about our schools. We are a strong team, we decide what we want to do and then we work out solutions to push any barriers aside.”
Mrs Phillips talked about the girls’ smooth transition from Agincourt to Inglefield, where they continue to blossom into independent, confident, happy children.
She told the girls: “Some motivational speakers might say ‘you can be anything you want to be, you just have to practise’. But is that true – is it realistic?
“I want to finish that message off by saying ‘have a really good try children, do your best and aim high, that way if you don’t succeed you will still have raised your game and moved forwards and you can be satisfied with your efforts’.
“We want our girls to be the best version of themselves. You don’t need to be an Olympian, or run the country. Work for something bigger than yourself, concentrate on getting the small stuff right. Don’t judge each day by the harvest, but by the seeds that you plant.”
Beloved Inglefield teacher Mrs Champion, who retires at the end of this term, was presented with a long-service certificate from the Haberdashers and HMSG Head Girl, Amber, gave a short speech to thank her on behalf of all the pupils she’d taught throughout the years.
Bagnall Oakeley celebrated winning the coveted House Cup, and wonderful entertainment was provided by dedicated musicians.
Music scholars, Eleanor and Grace, played Shostakovich’s Duet for Two Violins and Piano, the Inglefield House Orchestra performed Oom-Pah-Pah from Oliver and A Whiter Shade of Pale by Keith Reid and Gary Brooker.
And the Upper Junior Choir gave a stirring performance of Bob Chilcott’s Can You Hear Me?