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Addresses to Summer Meeting 2017

Published on 01/07/17

Head Girl, Lottie Rayner and Head Boy, Xander Allman-Varty

Addresses to Summer Meeting 2017

Good morning everyone and welcome to this year’s summer meeting. I find it rather emotional to be standing in front of you all this morning as I reflect, reminisce and remember the amazing experience I have had at this wonderful School. Before I begin, I would like to thank my mum and dad. I believe everyone here today is truly blessed to have parents who are loving and generous enough to support their children in growing up in such a great school environment.

I have been at Claremont for thirteen years having joined in reception. The pre-prep and prep schools were such amazing places to grow up with Years 4 and 6 standing out as highlights. Year 4 was a great year as we had the legendary Mr. M as our teacher. Mr. M was notorious for his taste in music; playing the top hits in 2008 from bands like the Hoosiers and Keane. These memories are also what has helped form many friendships; one in particular with Luke as we both thoroughly enjoyed listening to music in our lessons, and increased our young love for music. We both studied A level music these past two years which was made extra special by the infamous Mr Affonso who made every lesson special and we will truly miss him next year.

Year 6 is such a magical and fun year; you're the big fish in the small pond and the rest of the Prep School look up to you. I have so many fond memories from Year 6; the Isle of Wight trip to name one. Anyone who was on that trip and is here today will know that my sister, Tabitha, who is now in Year 2, was born on the Wednesday evening two weeks early. Although being born early isn't a complete phenomenon, Tabitha has made us late for everything ever since! The Isle of Wight trip was a final hurrah, as we all knew that in September we were moving on to the Senior School.

The move up to Senior School is a frightening yet exciting experience. I quickly became friends with a new boy due to his ability to make me laugh by finding something funny in every part of life. I don't think I have ever met anyone who doesn't find Milo hysterical and I suggest everyone finds a Milo to have in their lives. We were lucky enough to have Mr Boothe as our tutor who is one of the nicest people I have ever met. We were truly blessed to have him as our tutor from Year 7 to 11. Mr Boothe, you were like a second dad to us all so thank you.

Year 10 contained more than just a noticeable increase in homework; it was also the year my friend Charlie and I went on the infamous Barcelona football tour which was a bit of a failure with the second team losing 25-0 in one game. However, in terms of how much everyone enjoyed the trip, it was a monumental success. We had unforgettable moments such as my penalty miss during our 25-0 thrashing. This trip would not have been the same without the staff who made the trip extra special so thank you Mr Nanson, Mr Whitehead and Mr Gladstone.

Year 10, 11, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth is when the School helps you to become a strong, loving and educated member of society, where you begin to develop your own opinions and are taught to research them, where you begin to develop your own moral compass. Where most schools will try to group up and devalue the beautiful intricacies which we all have, Claremont encourages you to understand your own morals and principles, to become a strong willed, motivated individual with the self-belief that we can become anyone and achieve anything. My reading of the School’s motto of ‘Be strong in understanding’ is don’t just be strong in understanding others, make sure you understand yourself because that’s who you spend every minute of every day with. Understand what you want and try your hardest to achieve it without letting anyone convince you, you can’t. Frederick William Robertson said ‘Life, like war, is a series of mistakes. Mediocrity may secure that but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes, organise victory out of mistakes.” Thank you for listening and I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

Xander Allman-Varty
Head Boy 2016-2017

 

The last time I was standing here to give a speech, I was in Year 2. How times have changed as I stand here at the end of Upper Sixth, or perhaps not...back then I saw a daunting future ahead of me at Prep School and now I see the daunting future of university. Hopefully university will have fewer runny noses and grazed knees…

When it came to this speech, I wanted to talk about the idea of legacy. I joined in Nursery so after fifteen years at Claremont Fan Court, what could I leave behind? This year, as Head Girl, I have worked with the Year 5s and Year 2s and I have loved returning to the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools to give assemblies and help in classes. A few days ago, the Year 2s gave me a card full of their handwritten messages and I realised what my legacy would be. I hope the Year 2s, whom I helped in maths, will keep using my weird ways of solving maths problems. I hope that the children, who pursue drama after asking me about acting and watching me perform, will remember our chats as they participate in school shows. I hope those Year 5s who choose history at GCSE or A level will remember my passion for history. And I hope that someone will stand here in the future and remember me for inspiring them to embody the School. In fact, I would like to thank Alex Hale, who was the head girl when I was little. It was her visits to the pre-prep that inspired me to strive for head girl when I was just 5 years old.

I love the quote ‘you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’. Maybe this is why my schedules have been so full. I have been part of sports teams for nine years and learnt so much about teamwork. School productions and LAMDA exams helped me build confidence and discover my love for the stage! Young Enterprise and Duke of Edinburgh taught me the great lessons of perseverance and dedication. Most significantly though, my co-curricular activities taught me the importance of enjoyment. When I am enjoying something, I work harder and push myself further. The activities that I thoroughly enjoyed will be my most treasured memories of Claremont.

I remember in Year 1 when a goat broke loose and ran free across the triangle right into our sports lesson; when Josh fancied himself a bit of a ‘ladies man’ at the Year 6 disco and asked every girl in the year to be his date…not that we realised until we all showed up at the disco to find that there was a queue for our dancing partner; in Year 7 when Cara broke Amy’s nose during lacrosse practice followed swiftly by daddy Hudson breaking Amy’s nose again a week later in a parents vs students rounders match at summer meeting. I will also remember the Year 9 trip to Belgium when, as we were cycling along the picturesque canals of Bruges, dear Rob took a slight detour deep into the canal before emerging covered in weeds and without a bicycle…and finally, Amy’s attempt to hurdle a hedge in Year 10…needless to say that it didn't end well. It’s funny, now that I think of it, all of my memories raise some serious health and safety concerns.

We have all grown so much as individuals. For starters, I hope that Eleanor’s subtlety has improved from chasing poor Yannick around the playground in year 2 in a one person game of ‘kiss chase’ until finally tackling him to the ground in victory! Similarly, I’d like to think that my dress sense has improved from the wonderfully coordinated ‘everything in pink’ outfits that I used to rock up in at nursery, with matching pink accessories of course!

As my time here comes to an end, I try to take mental pictures of all the little things; waiting in line for lunch and being outraged if someone cuts the line as well as school plays and wonderful drama director meltdowns a week before the show. It has been an emotional few weeks saying goodbye but I can say wholeheartedly that Claremont Fan Court has prepared me to leave here as a confident young woman ready to take on the world. Thank you to all the wonderful teachers who have gone the extra mile for me. It is because of their dedication that I am here today. I would particularly like to thank my parents who supported me through everything; I will always remember the lessons they have taught me. Thank you for choosing Claremont for me!

My final advice is: try everything on offer, give it your best, and as my mum always says, “regard your work as a self-portrait, sign it with excellence”.

Thank you so much for listening and enjoy Summer Meeting.

Lottie Rayner
Head Girl 2016-2017