Last year I wrote a post on the last day of the school summer term, with photos from that final day alongside the best pictures taken throughout the year. The thing is that this year, although today is the last day of term, I’ve already finished. Our official last day was in late-May, although many of us still had exams well into June. But since then, we’ve been ‘free’ to enjoy a great long summer (not that the weather’s been particularly summery), and we’re not the only ones missing the closing assembly of the year: Year 10 finish their work experience placements this afternoon, while Year 13 have left school forever.
Nevertheless, I thought I’d compile a gallery of a selection of photos from September to June.
Click here to see the best pictures of the year.
If yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) Graduation Ceremony was the pomp and ceremony, last night’s Graduation Ball (School Prom) was set to be the true celebration for the end of GCSEs, Year 11, and compulsory school education.
Louis, who I’ve really only got to know over the last two years of GCSE German lessons, invited about a dozen of us around to his house for pre-prom drinks. With the heat of the baking sun, which was making one of its first appearances in this wettest of Junes, I wasn’t sure whether to go dressed or to take my dinner-jacket, dress shirt, and trousers to change into there. In the end, I decided to go ‘suited-and-booted’, making sure to bring a handful of handkerchiefs ready to mop my unpleasantly inevitable damp forehead.
After playing on his console and trying our hand at games of pool, his mother took photographs of the group of us and then we walked down the hill to school. There, Chloe had meticulously arranged for an old Routemaster bus to meet us and about 45 of our fellow Year 11s, before taking us to the venue of the prom, Court Garden in Marlow.
Of course, one of the great pressures during the run-up to a school prom is finding a ‘prom date’; someone to arrive with, talk with, and dance with throughout the evening. Fortunately for me, I’d long been sorted: my friend Lorna – who’s been a source of fun, compassion at times, and consistent friendship throughout the five years we’ve known each other – texted me in early October with the message “I’ve shot gunned you for prom x”. Stepping out of the car she’d come in, she looked incredible; elegant in a vivid scarlet dress, wearing delicate silver diamante heels, her hair perfectly curled and pinned into a side bun.
All of us stood and smiled as emotional mothers, proud fathers, and knowing elder siblings looked on, some with cameras photographing this pinnacle of our school careers, delighted both in us and for us.
Today’s date had long been in my calendar for two reasons: firstly, it was to mark the end of my GCSE season, with this morning’s German Reading paper. But it was also the date scheduled for our formal farewell ceremony from Furze Platt, a university-style ‘graduation’ from compulsory education.
I’ll admit that even I – at first – felt a little silly parading into the Sports Hall to a soundtrack of recorded grand orchestral music, dressed head to toe in black mortarboard and gown. But quickly I realised that I was in fact proud; proud to have completed my exams, proud to have completed my fifth year at Furze Platt, and proud to be where I was at the time.
Music played at the event included sections of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (sadly, the original, non-lyricsised version – I was all up for bursting into Arthur Christopher Benson’s words).