Twelve months ago, on the day in between my final GCSE exam and the ‘prom’ ball, my classmates and I donned academic gowns and mortarboard caps to formally ‘graduate’ from Furze Platt. For many, it was an entirely trivial affair: the vast majority of the yeargroup returned in September, to join the Sixth Form. But for others, it marked their last hours on the school site, at the end of five happy years at the Senior School.
Since last June, time – as I’ve occasionally stopped to remark – has flown by with shocking speed. Now Head Boy, in a year’s time I myself will have left Furze Platt. Again. Except this time it’ll have been for good.
But today I was able to pause to watch as, a year on from the start of my own glorious summer of Year 11, my younger schoolmates took their turn at wearing the formalwear.
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).