Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 29

10 May 2024

Dear Parents,

An emotional week in the Baker household as Wednesday signalled elder son Patrick’s last day at school.  Where has the time gone between his Reception teacher texting my wife halfway through the morning and afternoon with updates on his various states of ‘teariness’ to the confident, thoughtful and self-aware young man that walked out of Wednesday’s Year 13 Leavers’ Ceremony with his sports ‘Colours’ and girlfriend on his arm – the ‘teariness’ now fully transferred, 14 years later, from son to parent.  His Headteacher, Annmarie McNaney, gave an excellent, heartfelt speech and was opportune to mention that whatever aspirations the pupils had for their upcoming ‘A’ Level exams, the outcomes wouldn’t define them as a person.  More so it was their characters, personalities and friendships, developed and honed over the past 18 years, that would be most valued and a metaphorical signpost to the rest of their lives.  I said similar to over a hundred prospective parents at our Open Day this morning; we might sometimes get fixated on specific outcomes but no-one finishes their time here by saying, “The Beacon was amazing as it got me into (insert senior school)”  Rather they say, “The Beacon was amazing due to all the opportunities, experiences and friendships I have made here.”   Quite right too.

And for ten of our boys on Tuesday night, there was indeed, one of those memorable life experiences from their time here.  For one reason or another, I could not attend last year’s ‘Beacon Bard of the Year’ and I clearly missed out, as this was as special a prep school occasion as I have ever witnessed.  Ten boys, comprehending and learning, without missing one word, large pieces of verse then interpreting them on stage through drama.  They were all magnificent and for someone that always struggled with Shakespeare as a child, I was in awe.  Special mention to the winner, Leo, and to Runner Up Sam and Highly Commended Philip, and also Sebbi, Reuben, Adrian, Alex, Tag, Ben and Casper – you did Shakespeare proud on Tuesday – and also to our adjudicator, Will Maynard.  An ex-Beacon boy and colleague himself, I said on the night that he was as good an example of what a Beacon education can produce in terms of his expertise, insight, ability to engage and for just being all round great guy.  Halfway through his summing up I turned to Bex Livermore and mouthed, “this guy’s amazing”.  Bex smiled, nodded sagely and simply mouthed in reply, “Ex Beacon boy.”

Have a good weekend,

Nick Baker

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