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The Blue Coat School Class of 2018 returned for a memorable A Level Prizegiving Celebration, with the keynote address given by the leading Liverpool businessman Sir Terry Leahy.

The evening was hosted by Headteacher Mr Pennington and the Presentation of Prizes was given by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Christine Banks.

Special guest Sir Terry, who grew up in Belle Vale, was Chief Executive Officer of Tesco, 1997-2011, leading it to become the World’s third largest retailer. He received his knighthood in 2002 and was named European Businessman of the Year 2004 by the highly influential Fortune Magazine.

In his address he said: “I am hugely impressed by the achievements of this School, not only academically, but also in the arts, sports and citizenship. Remember this day and enjoy it, but remember too your teachers and parents and the great part they played in getting you here.

“The older you get, the more you realise how much you owe these people. To receive love and guidance and the preparation for life are the greatest gifts you can get. This School will always be with you as your guide through life.

“You’ll have your ups and downs. I remember my friend Kevin Roberts being punished for copying my homework and the teacher explaining that this was also for being stupid enough to copy such bad homework!”

Being a leader was the ability to take someone further than they would go on their own, said Sir Terry: “It’s what you enable other people to do, just as this School has given you skills to achieve a great deal. The hardest thing to do is to put trust and faith in other people, but if you do, they will follow you. Always try and give more than you take out.”

His three key points in establishing leadership are to firstly find the honest truth of a situation; secondly paint a picture of a better place; thirdly make a plan to get there. He added: “Then you must have the courage to take the risk to do it and plunge in. Believe in yourself and don’t get scared of new situations. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the charismatic centre of attention, instead be a good listener and assess the issues and think about the right thing to do.”

Don’t worry if you’ve not found a vocation, choose something worthwhile which you can enjoy, he advised. All that matters is if it also makes someone else’s life a bit better too. He added: “Remember to have fun while you’re doing it, and keep in touch with your old School to help give something back. Finally, having a sense of humour helps too!”

The event provided the opportunity to celebrate the Class of 2018’s achievements during their final year at the School and all students were recognised for their successes at A Level. In addition 28 subject related prizes were awarded and 32 students celebrated achieving a Margaret Bryce Smith Scholarship Award. The three special prizes on the evening were awarded to:

  • Jessie Yu – LJMU Citizenship Award for significant contribution to the community
  • Roshan Karthikappallil – Andrew Allen Citizenship Award for significant contribution to the community
  • Isabel Coleman – Westminster Plate for overall contribution to school life.

Lord Mayor Banks said: “This has been a wonderful evening and shows just what young people, who we rely on for the future, can achieve.”

Mr Pennington said: “The Class of 2018 is one of amazing achievements, with exceptional attainment and progress, including things which can’t be measured in in academic examinations. You can be proud of your outcomes which will put you on the road to future success.”

Mrs O’Rourke, Key Stage 5 Leader with Mr Mercer, said: “This has been an outstanding year. What’s remarkable is the high standards of success in so many events, such as the Physics Olympiad, Youth Parliament, Duke of Edinburgh Gold and Debating Society. Your enthusiasm constantly astounded me.”

Music was provided by Daniel Greenway, Yr 12, playing the Father Willis organ, which has just received a £162,800 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for its full restoration. A piano solo was played by Ameen Elbadri, Yr 13, and the Senior Choir sang Africa, conducted by Director of Music Mr Emery and accompanied by Ms Horton.

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