Incoming Head Student team with Mrs Stotesbury and guest speaker Sophie Lewis
Pupils from the Prep and Senior School enjoyed a special Prize Giving celebration on the last day of the academic year, with guest speak and alumna, Sophie Lewis, Chair of Governors, Hilary Buckle and Mrs Stotesbury and Mrs Boccaccini paying tribute to all their achievements.
At the Prep ceremony, Sophie reminisced about her time at St Joseph’s from Year 7 – 13 and recalled quite a few amusing anecdotes including nicknames for her teachers and the fact that girls wore a brown uniform with brown capes and hats, and even brown knickers! She felt that many aspects of St Joseph’s had remained the same, especially the brilliant teachers who inspired her because they believed she could achieve anything, and the wonderful sense of community and belonging and fun.
Sophie recalled that it was at St Joseph’s that she discovered her love of music and joined all the groups including the choir, wind bands, orchestras and took part in all the school shows. This passion led her to pursue a career in music at English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, the Arts Council of England, Sinfonia Cymru and for the last five years at the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain. Sophie added that she made some of her best friends at the school and 34 years later she still meets up with them.
At the Senior ceremony, Sophie reflected on the last time she stood in the College Hall taking her exams, performing in concerts and attending assemblies and how emotional it was to return. She explained how the education and experience this school gave her shaped her future life in ways she couldn’t see at the time and how the pull of the arts, of expression, of creativity, never went away. She has since dedicated her 30 year career to championing the value of music in and for society.
“My job involves advocating for the transformational power of music for everyone. Music is, after all, everywhere – on our headphones, at parties, weddings, funerals, in films, video games, adverts and at gigs, festivals and concerts. We will all have a soundtrack to our lives – songs or pieces of music that remind us of something or someone. It is an essential part of what makes us, us,” she concluded.
Mrs Stotesbury spoke on the theme of ‘legacy’ in her Senior School speech. Legacy is the theme of the incoming Head Student team’s special project. She noted: “Let us not forget that legacy is not confined to professional accomplishments alone. Your character, values and the relationships you nurture are equally vital aspects of the legacy you will leave behind. The impact you have on the lives of others often endures beyond any accolades or titles. Acts of compassion, empathy, and support can create a ripple effect, inspiring others to follow in your footsteps and perpetuate the cycle of positivity.”