Junior Awards: Celebrating excellence and endeavour

QE’s Junior Awards Ceremony celebrated excellence and endeavour among high achievers from Years 7—9, with the Headmaster stressing the importance of character in education in his speech.

More than 100 prizes were presented by the Guest of Honour, Old Elizabethan Peter Morcos (1999-2006). The awards covered not only academic subjects, but also house awards, prizes for commitment and a number of endowed prizes and special awards.

VIP guests, teachers in their gowns, prize-winners and their families gathered in the School Hall for the afternoon event. Among the VIPs was the Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Mark Shooter, who gave an address. Elected earlier this year at the age of 43, he is the borough’s youngest-ever Mayor.

""In his speech, Headmaster Neil Enright spoke on the development of character.  Currently an important theme in education nationally, its value has in fact long been recognised at QE and will remain so, he said. “It is interwoven into everything the School does. We seek to foster in our pupils personal qualities such as grit, adaptability, resilience and an optimistic attitude.”

Character at QE is specifically nurtured through a well-developed and recently enhanced system of bespoke tutorials and individual coaching sessions. “From my own experience of encountering boys in these one-to-tone meetings, I can see very clearly the time invested in this activity bears considerable fruit in terms of character development,” said the Headmaster.

""He added that the locus of character development at QE is to be found not only in the classroom, but also in activities such as gruelling Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions, the dedicated pursuit of success by sports teams and in music performances requiring months of practice.

In his speech as Guest of Honour, barrister Peter Morcos told the prize-winners that they should be proud of their achievement: “Even amongst a very select group of young men, you have managed to prove yourselves as worth of particular mention. You should not underestimate that.”

""After leaving QE with straight A grades at A-level, Peter went on to graduate with first-class honours in Jurisprudence from Lincoln College, Oxford. He gained a string of awards at Oxford and during his subsequent studies at London’s BPP College of Law and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Drawing lessons from his own experience, he offered the boys two pieces of advice. “The first is this: you only truly fail when you give up. We all encounter setbacks. We do not often put those setbacks on our CVs or on our Facebook feeds. Real failure is when we do not try, when we no longer strive for the next success.

“The second part is this: when you decide to do something, do it with energy. Do not do it half-heartedly or begrudgingly. Do it happily; do it with ambition.”

""The event was punctuated by highly accomplished musical interludes performed by junior musicians: Joshua Wong from Year 7 (violin), Alistair Law from Year 8 (piano) and Uday Kataria from Year 9 (flute). The programme ranged from works by Chopin and Kreisler to the Processional and Recessional pieces at the start and end of the ceremony that were composed by senior QE boys.

After the ceremony, guests enjoyed tea and cakes outside on the front lawn in the sunshine, with the prize-winning boys and their families able to mingle and converse with the Headmaster and teachers.