Ipswich School pupils were urged to seize the day and make the most of the opportunities presented to them by this year’s Speech Day guest speaker, former pupil Rear Admiral Andrew Betton OBE.
Recounting anecdotes from his time as a pupil, and from his naval career, he spoke about career defining moments and friendship – and how the latter had been something he had taken from his school days and on into his career.
He had seized many opportunities, often to the amusement of his friends, including riding BMX bikes with Gurkha soldiers to intercept smugglers and commanding a £200million warship in The Gambia, down a silted up river in the aftermath of a tropical thunderstorm where the clearance on the ship was less than 2m.
He reminded the pupils to follow their passions and embrace the breadth of opportunity which they had at school – “embrace it and find opportunity wherever you can”.
Headmaster Nicholas Weaver and Chairman of Governors Henry Staunton reflected on the many successes of the school over the past 12 months, including national sporting winners in the U15 girls’ cricket and the U18 boys’ indoor hockey, the Big Band music performance in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre and the Middle School Quartet reaching the finals of a national chamber music competition, as well as countless other activities.
The recent Giving Day had raised over £100,000 for Ipswich School’s bursary campaign, and the school will be supporting several Ukrainian students to attend from September, with pupils also organising a number of charitable events during the year to support refugees in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Mr Weaver was also pleased to announce to the audience that, not only had Ipswich School won a national award for its Sixth Form, the school had just been shortlisted in six categories in the Independent School of the Year awards, including Co-Educational Independent School of the Year and Prep School of the Year
Nicholas Weaver said afterwards: “I am delighted that we have been able to get back to normal this academic year, and it was wonderful to see so many of our students enjoying Ipswich School activities throughout the past 12 months. It was lovely to celebrate their time at Ipswich School with the Year 13 leavers, who have given so much to the school, and leave an impressive legacy for others, and to say well done to all those pupils who received a prize this year, recognising their academic achievements.”