Mr Harris’ reflections on our weekend of celebrations 1-3rd July 2022 

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News - Jul 12

This past week has been extremely eventful and full of Joy! Last Friday we celebrated the lives and work of Year 13 students of the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. It was wonderful to see so many students return to school to chat with their friends and to remember with great happiness their time at the school. In fact,so many students returned that we actually ran out of Old Colytonian Socks which we were handing out as a gift. Perhaps, despite the fact that we are now offering five languages at school we may need to emphasise what RSVP means! We had over 500 guests on the Friday afternoon/ The significance of the OCS socks is that we would like former students to share with us their next steps and asked them to post a picture wearing the OCS socks at university, and whenever a challenge is over come: from the mountain top to graduation, to the first job, to the Board room, to Number 10! The gift also recognised that all of our students have made a valuable and positive contribution to this school –all have left their footprint and added to the history and glory of the school. On Saturday, we commemorated (and celebrated) the 475 years since the foundation of the school. 

Despite the poor but predictable English summer weather, it was a fantastic day. Alumni from across the decades returned to school including two people from the Class of 1953 who had not seen each other for many years. The Staff v Alumni cricket match was a very exciting encounter with the Staff team scoring the winning runs off the penultimate ball of the final over to chase down a score of 122 off 20 overs. It was a very enjoyable event and one that will be repeated next year. 

I am grateful to parents who joined the alumni team and as we will be playing again next year, others that may be interested can practise and plot the way to wrench the trophy (when we get one!) away from the Staff.   

Also, four former Headteachers gathered for the official opening of the new Bradbeer Drama Studio and Mr Fox spoke with great affection of Mr Bradbeer, a former teacher, whose bequest of his estate to the school has made so many development projects possible. Money from the Bradbeer Fund was used to purchase the solar panels and the income from these is used to provide financial support for students. Again, in a similar way to the Friday event, a sense of ‘Belonging’ was evident.  

On Sunday we brought the commemoration to an end at St Andrew’s Church, Colyton for a service of Choral Evensong. The School Chamber Choir, joined by alumni, sang beautifully and it was fitting to be in the church that was the original site of the school. Fr. Steven, Rector, in his sermon, spoke of St Thomas known as Doubting Thomas due to his questioning of the resurrection would have been at home in a school of scholars, who question in order to learn. I am intrigued by the reference to St Thomasin a book by the theologian, Rev. Peter Blake, in which he is referred to as ‘Mr Everyman’ -as all of us doubt and questions our place in life. Thomas is a man in the New Testament who figures in a number of stories. In the story of  

Lazarus when Jesus returns to visit his dying friend, Thomas instructs his fellow disciples to follow despite the threat to their lives and we hear of his unrivalled grief on hearing the news that Jesus would be leaving. It is common for people to comment on St Thomas in a negative light but perhaps we must heed Fr Steven’s advice and think of him as a role model, as an intelligent man who questions and consequently learns. He is that person in a class who is confident enough to speak out when others are too shy and embarrassed. Also, it is Thomas who personifies a greater sense of ‘Belonging’ and community, and in this way, it is right that we think of him as we celebrate all the strengths and joy of our school community at this time. 

Photographs are available