Royal Grammar School




After a year of serving as Head Boy and Head Girl at RGS, David Coates and Becky Smith have now stepped down from their posts and, along with their fellow Upper Sixth students, they begin their leave of absence as of today, in order to prepare for their forthcoming exams. Before they left, both David and Becky addressed the whole school in assembly and offered some parting words which between them were witty, inspiring and very touching...  


Becky’s words

Ever since I was asked to make a speech in assembly I have been struggling to find a topic to talk about. But then I thought, why not talk about something that comes naturally and that, for me, is smiling. I know it's cheesy and the majority of you will perhaps be throwing up a little inside but just hear me out…  

Over the past seven years at the RGS I have developed a bit of a reputation for smiling. People have often made the assumption that I am on something (!) but no, that has not been the case. I enjoy smiling- simple as - and what is more, I enjoy people smiling back at me in return. Try it now, smile at somebody, anybody in this hall and see if you get a smile back. It's a great feeling and one which I discovered when I was very little, smaller than I am now if you can imagine that!  

My mum had taken me shoe shopping for new school shoes which can be a very stressful business! Anyway, I was walking up and down in my new shoes when I bumped into another little girl who was crying. Being quite a shy child back then, I didn't know what to say so instead I smiled at her. The girl stopped crying and looked back at me. She then suddenly started to smile. We shared a few happy moments of smiling before I had to return to my mum. Ever since that day I have enjoyed smiling at people and seeing their reactions. Yes, perhaps people on the metro may have thought I was insane and maybe some of you think I'm insane but that doesn't bother me because maybe somewhere along the line I have cheered someone's day up ever so slightly.  

Smiling and being cheerful helps you make friends and start conversations. The support staff here love a good chat. They spend just as much time here as we do, looking after our school for us. For instance have you ever thought about these windows here in the main hall and how long it must take people to clean them? There's a multitude of jobs just like that which we may never think about so even just a smile, every once in a while at the support staff may just make those jobs a little bit more worthwhile. This is a fantastic school with fantastic facilities, fantastic teachers and just fantastic people in it. We here, in this school have every reason to smile. When I feel grumpy or fed up sometimes I have to take a step back and just look at the life I have. I have been to an incredible school for the past seven years of my life where there are so many things to get involved in and opportunities to seize. I have a fantastic group of friends, some of which I have been close to since Year 7, others whom I have come to know and love just over these past two years. I have more reason to smile than many other people in this world. I'm not saying I smile constantly, I get stressed, of course I do, but when you are stressed one of the best things you can do is smile and laugh. Yes I know that’s easier said than done, especially when exams are looming but stress is not healthy. So, I’m asking each and every one of you a favour: if you see someone who’s worried or upset maybe give them a smile or a pat on the back, or even try and squeeze out a laugh from them because that is possibly the best remedy that person can have.  

Good luck to all of you over these next weeks, particularly the Upper Sixth. Enjoy your day, week, and future and don’t forget to smile.  


David’s words

I've loved being a part of this school and I'm not here to give a tear-jerking goodbye speech, although I very easily could. My speech today isn't meant to be a goodbye on behalf of my year; I don't think I could ever do them justice in the five minutes I've been allocated. Instead I want to talk about this school and everything it's given us because I'm hoping that you take all the chances that we often missed out on. Being a kid is awesome, it is, it's incredible because you get to pretend to be mature and when you mess up no-one blames you or gets angry, you get to do stupid stuff and get praised for it, the kind of stuff that you don't get time for when you're an adult or if you do, you get told that it's not productive enough or it doesn't make you enough money.

So why am I telling you this? It's because I really believe that it's never too late to get involved in all of this stuff, I strongly believe that everyone, from teachers to blue blazers have the intelligence, resources and drive to do some pretty incredible things. Looking at the Year 7 rugby team, I'm amazed at the dedication and talent they have, at the age when they're supposedly meant to be watching cartoons and sitting around.

The water polo team has the most incredible spirit in the school, which hopefully makes up for some pretty questionable results!

Everything from the 1st XV and the 1st XI through to the mighty Spartans of rugby and the quidditch team that someone tried to set up last year are all examples of things that make this school great. These are the kind of things that you will look back on you're 40 and feel very lucky that you had the opportunity to do them and also very proud that you took that opportunity.

So what do I think you should take away from this? I don't expect you to go and join every society in the school, but I really hope that you might go and try something new, find a club that you like and bring a friend (bring four!), not so you make me happy or because you have to do your part for the school but because you might actually really enjoy it, because you’ll make some memories which will stick with you for a very long time. In 30 years’ time you're not going to remember someone telling you that being in a play or debating is lame, you're going to remember that it gave you some of the best times of your life.