Speech Day celebrates success and commemorates World War One anniversary

The planting of a tree to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War One, and a fascinating insight into the life of a historian, demonstrating the importance of history were the key highlights of this year’s Ipswich School Speech Day.

The leading academic and broadcaster, Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, gave the main address at the event at the Corn Exchange last Friday (16 May), whilst Headmaster Nicholas Weaver spoke passionately about the importance of pastoral care as the cornerstone of an Ipswich School education, to allow every pupil to feel “safe and brave” in the classroom and in their learning.

He also outlined a number of important events in the school’s history with anniversaries this year, including the 200th anniversary of OId Ipswichian Rear Admiral Broke’s naval victory, the 125th anniversary of the school’s Combined Cadet Force and 40 years since the first girl joined the school. 

Referring to the centenary of WW1, Mr Weaver paid tribute to the 71 pupils and former pupils who lost their lives in the conflict.  A tree to mark the hundredth anniversary of the start of the war was later planted at the front of the school by the Mayor, Cllr Hamil Clarke, where the Headmaster during the war, AK Watson, planted vegetables to help the war effort. 

Guest speaker Dr Suzannah Lipscomb delivered a compelling account of her life as an academic and broadcaster, from her first interest in history as a sixth former, to her post-graduate studies into sixteenth century France and the records of the Huguenots which were full of stories about women who had to give an account of themselves to the religious authorities if they had transgressed. 

Dr Lipscomb explained that a historian was “explorer, detective and raiser of the dead”, and inspired the audience to find out more about the past.  Following the event at the Corn Exchange, Dr Lipscomb spent some time with current history students looking at the sixteenth century books in the Ipswich Town Library, which is kept at Ipswich School, encouraging them to touch the old pages and get a real feel for the past.

The packed Ipswich Corn Exchange also saw 83 pupils from all years of the school receive prizes recognising their overall effort and achievement in subjects across the curriculum, both in and out of lessons.  These prizes, many of which are historic bequests from former pupils, were presented to pupils by the Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Hamil Clarke.

Mr Weaver said: “It is lovely to celebrate the success of our pupils in many areas of school life each year in the public arena of the Corn Exchange. Speech Day recognises the hard work and achievements of pupils, and allows us to thank staff and parents for the support they show.” 

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