Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Making Us Proud

Making Us Proud

You might argue it was only a little thing, and something that is done up and down the land in schools and other institutions on 11th November every year. Of course I’m talking about how the RGS marked Remembrance.

The way we did it was not unusual. In fact, it’s described in this week’s Senior School Newsletter: click here. But what moved me – as it does every year in truth – was the way our students responded. For our 11-year-olds, for example, it’s perhaps the first time that they have experienced anything quite so solemn, sitting in the hall, dwarfed by that huge War Memorial and organ, learning what that great construction represents.

We did something new this year in inviting students to come back to the Main Hall at lunchtime, when they were free, and leave their poppy on the historic school table that sits on the stage in front of the Memorial. Still, two days later, that carpet of poppies covers the table, surrounding the wreath that the Head Prefects laid during our ceremonies.

Each is a tiny thing, just putting a poppy thoughtfully in position as a single, personal act of remembrance. Yet when all those single actions are multiplied, it is a very significant collective commemoration.

It provides, of course, a metaphor for how schools always operate. In every school day thousands or millions of personal interactions take place. All those tiny events add up in the life of a single student: all those lives of  single students add up to an enormous collective pattern of opportunity and achievement in a school.

What is remarkable is the readiness of our students to respond appropriately, to grasp and empathise with what is being planned, what is hoped for and what is expected. Time and again they make so proud. Not just me, either. They surely make us all proud.

Bernard Trafford

Headmaster