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Blue Coat School was determined to make the GCSE Prizegiving Celebration a day to remember for students in spite of the difficulties caused by the pandemic restrictions.

Special guest speaker was Old Blue Nikoletta Michael, Class of 2011, who has worked for the Foreign Office and is now a policy officer at the City of London Corporation. Chair of the Trustees Mr John Grace presented the GCSE Certificates and Awards.

In her introduction, Headteacher Ms Yates said: “This is a very special occasion, in which we both celebrate and reflect on the years which have culminated in receiving your certificates today.

“It has been a unique journey as you combatted the challenges of a restricted education. After starting here, you went home in Year 10, came back in June 2020 for a few lessons, then you had to adjust to online learning.

“You all coped amazingly well with adaptability, commitment, conscientiousness and determination. This is a huge achievement in Years 10 and 11, of which you should be very proud.

“Then you couldn’t sit exams and had Teacher Assessed Grades. You needed to work hard all the time through all the changes and you pulled it out of the bag. That’s why this is a celebration and it embodies the Blue Coat motto of not just for one, but for everyone.”

Before introducing a short film featuring the GCSE students, Key Stage 4 Leader Ms Baker said students looking forward to the next stages of their lives had already learned the lessons of hard work and study which would last a lifetime.

In her address, Nikoletta Michael praised Blue Coat School for instilling in her the confidence to achieve her potential, particularly in her passion for languages. This is key to her ambition to work in international relations at the United Nations.

She said: “Teachers here gave me the tools and resources so I was able to study languages at Montpellier University in France. I realised that through the learning of languages that everything is a matter of perspective.”

This factor broadens your mind and, she said: “You then become a source of inspiration and develop skills to reach out and help other people. Hard work not only pays off, but takes you to places you would not otherwise reach.”

However, she warned: “Things do not always go to plan, but make the most of any predicament you find yourself in. Welcome events in whichever way they happen. Rejection is not failure, but a chance for recalibration. Follow your passion, set yourself goals and reach for them. Knowing you’ve made a difference gives you true satisfaction.”

The event featured performances by Louise who sang Mozart’s Voi Che Sapete, pianist Ronnie played Andante Moderato, and organ music was performed by George.

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