The spectacular production of Les Misérables was celebrated at Monmouth School for Boys’ Speech Day and Prize-Giving.
Headmaster, Dr Andrew Daniel, said the joint-schools’ musical production earlier this year at the Blake Theatre had been the stand-out moment in his teaching career.
“The Music and Drama Departments provided the standout, blow-your-socks-off moment this year,” said Dr Daniel.
“Even more than this; our Les Misérables School Edition production was the absolute stand-out moment of my own career.”
Perhaps rather fittingly, the ceremony, on Saturday 7th July, included three excerpts from the production which featured pupils from Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools.
Toby delivered a wonderful performance of the tear-jerking Bring Him Home, while Monmouth School for Girls’ student, Amy, sang a beautiful rendition of I Dreamed a Dream.
The talented Henry sang Little People and Luke led the ensemble for The People’s Song which saw some members of the teaching staff rise to their feet to join in.
The guest speaker was Professor Julian Stevens, an Old Monmothian who is a specialist in laser refractive eye surgery.
He has been recognised for 20 years’ innovative work in the field of ophthalmic surgery and has performed more than 18,000 treatments.
Professor Stevens said: “My career as an ophthalmic surgeon has been shaped by advancements in technology with the introduction of lasers and, most recently, robotics and artificial intelligence.
“Monmouth School for Boys has educated its students for over 400 years with a bedrock of tradition and core values and added personal, self-belief and confidence social skills to give pupils the tools to begin the next stages of life.
“With the surgery I do now, none of it existed when I was at school.
“However, the tools to disassemble and breakdown a problem were learnt at Monmouth and those tools are the essential requirements of our modern world.”
Certificates were presented to long-serving members of staff who are retiring this summer.
On the academic front, Dr Daniel highlighted three tremendous opportunities in academic enrichment – the Monmouth Science Initiative, the annual Computer Science Fair and the Young Enterprise scheme.
In fact, the joint-schools’ Young Enterprise team, MySlides represented Wales in the UK national final in London on Friday 6th July. The team, which had previously won the Welsh title, reached the top 14 in the UK from 1,400 teams and 16,500 competitors.
Head of School, Nyasha, spoke about the episodes of his journey from a quiet, shy and tentative four-year-old at Agincourt to a confident and ambitious 18-year-old.
“I joined Agincourt in reception – one of Mrs Thomas’ little chickens and a lot has changed since then,” said Nyasha, who has enjoyed playing chess, football and rugby at school and relished his life as a boarder in Weirhead and then Buchanan houses.
“It has been a quick 13 years and Monmouth has provided me with the chance to grow as a person and that’s something I will be forever thankful for,” he said.
“I wish the boys all the best in the future and I hope the younger boys enjoy the rest of your years here because it whizzes by very quickly.
“It feels as if I have taken everything I possibly can from Monmouth and sadly my journey here has now reached an end. How could I possibly summarise my time here? I came; I saw; I conquered.”
There were other inspiring speeches from Mr Audley Twiston-Davies, Chairman of the Board of Governors, and the Master of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, Mr Sheridan Swallow.
Mr Twiston-Davies said: “What is wonderful, apart from the excellent academic standards, is the terrific sport and other co-curricular activities at Monmouth.
“What is terrific about this Monmouth family of schools is the sense of community, with people helping each other and building for the future together. For that, I am thankful to patents and staff who give so much to make this a very special place and a very special experience.”
Prizes were handed out for a variety of outstanding achievements in academics, art, sport, music.