Senior pupils processed to St Mark’s Church for their annual prizegiving event last week.

Welcoming everyone to the church, Professor Jimmy Hutchison, Chairman of the Board of Governors was joined by guest speaker, Almira Delibegovic-Broome QC and Head of College, Mr Macpherson.

Following the progress of the College and the achievements of the pupils with amazement and admiration, Professor Jimmy Hutchison, Chairman shared, “It is important that you know that you have made your families and teachers very, very proud and you really are a credit to the College and more importantly to yourselves.”

Reflecting on 2021-2022, Mr Macpherson asked pupils to, “Take a moment to think back to August 19th, 2021. What have you enjoyed learning the most? What has been the hardest thing to learn? What has been your biggest achievement? What was the key ingredient of your success? What will you do differently next year now that you are a little older and wiser? 

“Thinking about how you learn is an essential component of success. Ask questions, think hard, and work hard. That doesn’t mean you have to shout out the answer or constantly have your hand in the air. It means you have to switch your mind on and come up with your own ideas. Ask yourself; do I believe what I am being told? And if so, how do I know?”

Encouraging pupils to consider three things to prepare them for the world beyond school, Almira Delibegovic-Broome, Queen’s Counsel at the Scots Bar said: “Go and travel.  See different things for yourself and see how difference can be beautiful, not scary. Resist any temptation just to stay in your room. If you are too young to travel on your own right now, start getting ready and look for inspiration - flick through atlases or Google Maps, do some country quizzes online, go to museums, start saving money. Be ready to travel when you can. Travel truly broadens one's mind.

“Read a lot and question what you read.  And not just the things your teachers recommend - although you should read those things first! But after you've done that, keep looking for more. On any topic, find something about it from more than one source. And when you've read something, ask yourself: does that make sense? What assumptions has the writer made in reaching this conclusion? What if just one of those assumptions is wrong? If you develop the habit of informing yourself on any topic so thoroughly like that, you will never be somebody who can be easily tricked by propaganda. And if you develop the habit of analysing other people’s writings so well, you yourself are likely to improve your own writing, be that of school papers, work reports, or project proposals.

“Perhaps most importantly: keep to your own inner moral compass.  Not all arguments are equally valid.   The mere fact that an opinion exists in relation to something does not entitle that opinion to any privileged status as such.  There are such things as rights and wrongs.  There are moral values and ethical standards.  We should always be able to apply our own moral compass to anything we are asked to do.   

“If you do those three things - travel, read critically and keep to your inner moral compass - you will give yourself the best chance you can to both get ahead personally in life, and to give something back and improve the world around you.”

During the S1-S3 event Ananth S (S3) performed Summer from A Victorian Kitchen Garden By Paul Reade (accompanied by Mrs Thom). This was followed by the S1-S2 Choir who performed When You Believe by Stephen Schwartz, arr. Cook (conducted and accompanied by Miss Cook). 

Closing the S1-S3 event, Anish S, School Captain summarised, “One simple message that has changed my life is to ‘Be proud of yourself’. Never let the want to fit in overcome the need to stand out. Being proud of who you are can be very difficult in a society where it seems like people are constantly judging your every move. However, standing up for what you believe in is so important. Be yourself - because everyone else is already taken. Make the most of what you enjoy and excel at. And remember, ‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ There is no substitute for hard work and dedication.

“Being a Gordonian is a huge privilege and is something that I am thoroughly grateful for! Without the freedom and opportunities at this school, I might not be in the position that I am in right now. For all of the pupils here today, make the most of the opportunities that this school provides and use your own initiative to become a better person. Be unashamedly tenacious and throw yourself into whatever you can.

“It is our diverse pupil body that makes our school unique and different! Of course, none of us would be in this position without the constant support and guidance from our parents and from the staff at the College. Behind every single pupil lies the monumental efforts from staff and parents.”

Mr Sumner piped the speakers into the S4-S6 event and Zoe Downs (S5) performed Finale from Three Piece Suite by Richard Rodney Bennett (accompanied by Mr Williamson). The Chamber Choir sang Be Thou My Vision by Bob Chilcott (conducted and accompanied by Mr Haggart).

School Captain, Ailsa P closed the S4-S6 ceremony highlighting, “What a chaotic year it has been but one I hope you have all enjoyed. This year, like the last couple, has not been easy so I would like to specifically thank all the staff at the College for supporting us through this time. We have all really appreciated your help and all that you have done for us, whether that’s in class or answering thousands of emails at all hours of the day.

“I want to wish the new S6’s good luck. The most important thing to remember is that no one is perfect and mistakes are expected and part of the journey. Enjoy your final year of school because trust me it disappears in the blink of an eye.

“You have all made my RGC experience one to remember and I will miss you all. My form class has become like my family.” 

Each audience watched the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 School Captains carry out the traditional Brooch and Shield Ceremony, marking the handover from one year to the next. We thank Ailsa and Anish for all their support and leadership this year, and welcome our 2022-2023 School Captains, Francesca S and Matthew C.