On Tuesday 1st November the Blue Coat School held its annual GCSE Prize Giving ceremony, to recognise and celebrate the recent academic success of Year 12.

During the special service, Year 12 were praised for the hard work, commitment and discipline shown over the past five years in the run up to their GCSE examinations. Of all grades awarded this summer 42% were grade A* and 78% were grade A, bringing the 2015/16 academic year to a fantastic close.

Alongside Year 12’s notable academic achievements, former Head of Year Mr Phelan congratulated students on their commitment to the wider School community and for their ongoing involvement in a wide array of extracurricular activities including the School choir and orchestra, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, local charity work and Blue Coat sport. For Mr Phelan serving Year 12 over the past five years as has been “a pleasure and a privilege”.

We were delighted to welcome back Old Blue and investment banker Mr Mike O’Brien, from the Class of 1995, as this year’s keynote speaker. Throughout his time at the School Mike was a keen basketball player, proudly playing for the Under 19 team in 1995 when they became the ‘Champions of Liverpool’.

On receiving his Law degree from the University of Sheffield Mike started his career in London at the global Law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in 1999. In 2004 Mike moved into the financial sector working for UBS, the worlds’ largest wealth manager – managing $2.5 trillion. In the Ultra High Net Worth Division, Mike advises clients from around the world on their personal investment portfolios and specialises in working with entrepreneurs in the technology sector.

Speaking to staff, students and parents Mike described The Blue Coat School as encouraging its students to have a “desire to learn, to keep moving and to want to achieve”. He also posed interesting questions, asking Year 12 to reflect on ‘what is intelligence?’, and referred to entrepreneur Hermann Hausser’s definition as “the ability to know what to do next”.

Mike also shared an overview of his journey since leaving the School and believes that being from Liverpool has given him a competitive edge, and, most importantly, a good sense of humour in the world of work.

Mike concluded his speech by talking about being an Old Blue and part of the Old Blues’ community. He encouraged Year 12 to keep in touch with one another beyond life at School after they have completed Sixth Form and to continue to help one other in the future.

Musical accompaniment for the afternoon was provided by the School’s String Ensemble, who performed a confident rendition of Peter Warlock’s Basse-Dance, with Year 12 student Roshan Karthikappallil demonstrating his musical talent with a performance of Ravel’s Habanera.

We would like to congratulate Year 12 on their magnificent achievement and wish them every success as they embark on their A Levels. Our thanks also go to Mike for taking time out of his busy schedule to deliver such an inspiring speech.

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