Bede's Prefects: Azjad's Whole School Address
Good morning everyone. I'm Azjad Elmubarak and as many of you may already know, I'll be your Head of School this year.
Today, I'll tell you a little bit about myself, as well as introduce the Perfect Programme for 2014-15.
I joined the Prep School in Year 7, after leaving my local primary school, and in our final year, Year 8, we were all very accustomed to being big fish in a small pond.
When I finally joined the Senior School in the First Year, I wasn't very prepared for how young I'd feel: I didn't quite realise we'd be sharing the school with scary Sixth Formers, with their confidence and grown-up suits - all while trying to navigate our disorientated selves to our Food and Nutrition lessons.
My mum still insists that this discovery shocked me to such an extent on my first day that I cried during the car ride home, the moment my friends where out of sight (although she can't prove it).
Of course, that outlook changed drastically after just a few weeks here to a wholly positive one of the entire student body. Now, after being a part of Bede's for six years, I can confidently state that my school career has moulded me as an individual.
If Dr Maloney were to have asked my First Year self to stand in front of you all today, I believe she would have started hyperventilating at the thought.
As some of you may remember, I was very shy, quiet in lessons and my friends would always tease me for being a bit of a 'goody-two-shoes' but having a sort of dual personality - one with my friends and one around new people.
After a year or so at the Bede's, I found that I had outgrown this exterior to reveal a confidence that I have never thought I could exude; slowly but surely, the two sides of my character were blending, allowing me to reach a happy medium.
Although I'm here today with an aim to look forward towards this new year, writing this speech encouraged me to be a little nostalgic. When I arrived at the Senior School, I was lucky to already have a close circle of friends who came here with me: with hindsight, it's interesting to see how each of us has found our own niche in the school. We all used our First Year to expand our horizons, successfully utilising the school's resources to amplify our newly sparked interests.
Now, in Sixth Form, I can excitedly explain that these same friends range from physicists and philosophers to linguists, dancers, actors and artists.
I believe that this circle of friends is a wonderful analogy for the nature of our School. It's this idea of Identity that we as the Prefect Team really wanted to celebrate this year.
We are so lucky to be a truly multi-cultural, multi-talented school - diverse in every sense. We want to enhance the awareness of our differences this year, with an aim to bring our school even closer together by emphasising our pride in one another's achievements.
We have ideas of department-led events for the whole school to enjoy, giving a chance for those of you with a real passion for your chosen studies to get others interested too.
We're also hoping to initiate activity fairs, where students can get to know exactly what some of our more obscure activities from our extensive Co-Curricular programme have to offer.
Houses could host their own events, celebrating their individuality with others, with themes of their House colours fueling the aesthetics.
It's not only our identity within school which we want to highlight, but we'd also like to heighten our enthusiasm for holding and articulating our varying views on national and global affairs.
We're thinking of hosting mock elections, where students can present their manifesto for their hypothetical run for Prime Minister, as well as regular inter-year debates on current events.
This theme goes hand in hand with our second of three aims this year, which is to improve communication within the school. We already do have a huge range of events occurring at school constantly but, with successful, efficient communication, the amount of people who can enjoy these events can be maximised.
At the moment, the Prefects are playing with ideas such as weekly e-newsletters to send to tutor groups, Facebook groups to advertise events and Twitter feeds. I'm told there's also promise for an app that the school can use in the future to make notices and advertisements far more interactive.
This year we'd love to encourage you all to let us know of any event you wish to advertise, so we can incorporate them in our Prefect notice board and weekly assemblies.
We've also already initiated a Prefect Swapping programme between boarding and day Houses so each House can take tips from others as to how to improve their own Pastoral care.
From the Prefects that have already taken part, I've heard that it's proved to be very eye-opening.
Our final aim for this year is to amplify Junior involvement in the school. As someone who started the school being very introverted, I feel that being a member of my House Council and participating in Sub-Committees evolved my skills in engaging in relevant debate with peers of all ages, as well as improving my confidence in articulating my own opinions to senior members of the school.
The team and I agree that these are invaluable skills which we all can gain from getting involved with our Student Voice. However, we are very conscious of the fact that it tends to be the more Senior students that feel comfortable to participate in this side of school life, which is why we're aiming to create a programme of Junior committees to become more involved in organising events, such as socials, as well as perhaps allocating Junior Captains of the sub-groups of school life.
This is all with the intent of making the voice of those in the Junior Years more prominent.
On a final note, on behalf of the entire Prefect Team, I'd like to wish you all a truly positive, enjoyable year. I'm very excited to work with such a great group of people and I hope the Prefects and I can make an impact this year to do our school proud.