Junior Awards: welcome return of QE’s celebration of younger boys’ successes

Junior Awards: welcome return of QE’s celebration of younger boys’ successes

For the first time since 2019, prize-winners, parents, VIP guests and staff assembled for a full Junior Awards Ceremony – complete with tea and cakes on the lawn afterwards.

After last year’s restricted event, 2022 saw the welcome return of a guest speaker, with Old Elizabethan Hemang Hirani (2008–2015) passing on to the boys lessons he has already learned in his blossoming career in investment banking.

The ceremony saw pupils from Years 7–9 awarded around 75 prizes for academic subjects and  extra-curricular activities such as chess, drama and public speaking & debating, as well as other endowed prizes and special awards.

Headmaster Neil Enright said afterwards: “Junior Awards is one of the highlights of our Summer Term, so it was splendid to be able to hold the ceremony in full once again, giving the boys and their families an afternoon to remember. It was a really enjoyable time and the young musicians who performed during the musical interludes played to an exceptionally high standard.”

VIP guests included The Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Barnet, Mr Martin Russell and The Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Barnet, Councillor Nagus Narenthira.

In his speech during the ceremony, Mr Enright alluded to the heatwave and to the legend of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and paid the price. “Boys, you have kept your cool in the academic heat of QE – in its own way a record-breaking environment; one which absorbs and re-radiates aspiration, intellectual curiosity and positive energy.

“In our proud meritocracy, we will always want to publicly recognise and celebrate absolute performance, but maximising your personal potential is why you all have unique targets each year; why we spend time doing bespoke tutorials. To help you to be realistically ambitious in what you do; to let you fly; but to make sure that your wings are fit for purpose and don’t melt in the heat.”

In the few short years since Hemang Hirani took a First in Geography and Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), he has forged a career in investment banking and is now an analyst with Barclays.

He has served in various voluntary capacities, including as a mentor to pupils at under-performing London schools and as an intern in Mumbai, fundraising and raising awareness in support of poor cancer patients. He previously returned to QE to lead a Sixth Form discussion on Economic Geography.

Hemang passed on various pieces of advice to the boys, pointing out that he had been a Junior Awards prize-winner himself just 12 short years ago. He concluded his address with a plea to the boys to remember to enjoy themselves: “Life, as we all know, is far too short – we spend a lot of time sweating over the small stuff – worrying, complaining, gossiping and always wanting something we think is bigger and better, rather than appreciating and focusing on what we have, and are fortunate to have.

“It takes a single moment to change everything that we take for granted…we are all blessed in one way or another, so live life and leave no regrets.”

Music award-winners from each of the three year groups performed during the musical interludes. Year 7 violinist Jamie Lam played Italian composer Vittorio Monti’s 1904 piece, Czardas; Year 8 pianist Noah Morley played Claude Debussy’s Dancers of Delphi, and Ryuki Watanabe, of Year 9, performed American composer Clarence Cameron White’s Levee Dance. Piano teacher Tadashi Imai was the accompanist.