Writing history, making history: former Headmaster is Guest of Honour at prize-giving

Writing history, making history: former Headmaster is Guest of Honour at prize-giving

Dr John Marincowitz, former Headmaster and author of a new history of Queen Elizabeth’s School published this month, was the special guest at the annual Senior Awards Ceremony – one of the highlights of QE’s academic year.

Current Headmaster Neil Enright said it was entirely appropriate that, as QE prepares to celebrate its 450th anniversary tomorrow, the place of honour should go to one of the School’s own. Dr Marincowitz was Mr Enright’s predecessor, holding the role from 1999 until his retirement in 2011.

“John’s new book, Queen Elizabeth’s School: 1573–2023, which was based on ten years of research, adds significantly to our understanding of the School. But of course John has not just written our School’s history; he has played a significant part in shaping it, too.

“In his years as Headmaster, and before that, in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, he was a key figure here. He was instrumental, firstly in the turn-around of a struggling, under-subscribed institution and secondly in laying the foundations for its emergence as one of the most celebrated state schools in the country.”

At the start of the evening, the VIP party processed into the School Hall to Byrd’s O Lord, make thy servant, Elizabeth, sung by the Chamber Choir.

Dr Marincowitz, who first arrived at QE to join the History department in 1985, then presented prizes – which this year included copies of his book – to scores of prizewinners drawn from Years 10, 11 and 12. There were awards for all the academic subjects, for overall academic excellence, for contribution & responsibility and for outstanding performance or contribution in extra-curricular activities such as debating & public speaking, chess, drama and the Combined Cadet Force.

In his address, he told the prizewinners in the audience: “You are the authors of your own stories.”

During his tenure as Headmaster, Dr Marincowitz not only oversaw steady improvements in academic results but also worked to improve the learning environment, making make good use of the money raised by the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s. Major new facilities including the Martin Pool and Shearly Hall were opened during his headmastership.

There were the customary musical interludes at the Senior Awards Ceremony, featuring performances by Music prizewinners. The interludes were: 20th-century French composer Paule Maurice’s Tableaux de Provence, performed by Year 10 saxophonist, Leo Sellis; Beethoven’s Romanze, played by violinist Jason Tao, of Year 11, and Rupak Kaida, performed by Year 12 pupil Isher Jagdev, on the tabla.

A vote of thanks was given by the 2023 School Captain, Darren Lee, of Year 12.

After that, the recessional was Offenbach’s Gendarmes’ Duet, performed by vocalists Year 12’s Arjun Patel, Koustuv Bhowmick, of Year 11, Joel Swedensky, of Year 11, and Robin Bickers, also of Year 11.

With the formal elements of the evening complete, prizewinners and their families were able to join staff for refreshments.