PNBHS Junior Prizegiving 2021 by PNBHS

Dear Parents,

On the last day of the school year we were able to present awards to our pupils in Years 9 and 10. They were prizegivings, but not as we know it. For the last two years we have been unable to hold our full school prizegiving where the whole school can recognise and celebrate the achievements of so many of our young men.

New this year were the categories that recognise young men who were the most improved in their form class across their core subjects. This gave us the opportunity for us to acknowledge those who worked hard, regardless of their academic ability; to have the drive to do better. Having just finished reading the junior reports it was gratifying to see just how many young men did just that. While we invoke Highlander’s theme – “there can be only one” – there were also many who came very close to winning an award, and those young men should be heartened by how well they have done. They can take pride in

There were some for whom motivation proved somewhat more elusive. For them, external factors were used as an excuse, but motivation is a personal thing, and too many seem to wait for someone else to motivate them. Some don’t want to try in case they fail. Some don’t want to try because they are, simply, lazy. I often quote Samuel Beckett, who said “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”. Failure is part of life, but there are too many who try to shield young people from failure lest it hurt their fragile self-esteem. The problem is, when failure does roll around, as it inevitably will, those young people are ill-equipped to deal with it.

Next year’s Year 11 group will have had no experience of the whole school prizegiving; they will have missed out on a number of traditional school events, so for them they may well have new experiences at school – that is if we can get through a year uninterrupted. They, along with all of our young men, have missed out on so many things that are important to our school. Speaking with a number of our Year 13 leavers over their last few days enabled me to hear how much of an impact the disruptions of the last coupe of years has had. But many also acknowledged that, to put things into perspective, things could have been much worse.

But back to junior reports. A considerable number of young men had too many absences, some more than 50 half days absent during the year. 50 half days = 25 days. Five weeks. Half a term. That many absences, some often for spurious reasons, has a huge impact on the learning and progress of a young man. The message is simple unless boys are sick, get to school.

Congratulations to Alex Cole (Dux Litterarum), Curtis Heaphy (Dux Ludorum) and Joe Inman (Dux Artium), our top achievers in academia, sport and cultural activities respectively. For Curtis and Joe, it was a repeat performance – both had won the top award as Year 12 pupils in 2020 – a rare feat indeed to have two Dux winners win back-to-back. All three young men achieved at an outstanding level throughout the year.

Congratulations, too, to Telson Liuvaie, who has been named as Head Prefect for 2022, and to Aadesh Ganugapati and Mathew Jamieson who have been named as Deputy Head Prefects.

Have a safe and enjoyable break and have a great Christmas.

D M Bovey