The theme of what makes a great person ran through Pocklington School’s speech day this year, with both Headmaster Mark Ronan and guest speaker the Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley, offering opinions and advice.
Taking inspiration from David Bowie’s song, Heroes, Mr Ronan said heroism took many different forms and could spring from apparently unremarkable people.
Any one of us could be heroes, he said, because the traits demonstrated by those who achieve outstanding things are shared by us all.
“If the idea of a hero is being selfless, generous, respectful and persevering, in other words a state of mind, then it is a choice,” he said.
“Everyone here can make a difference. ‘We can be heroes just for one day’.”
Bishop Graham, who attended Pocklington School between 1981 and 1989,said great leaders frequently use five words and phrases: Thank you; well done; sorry; please; and what do you think? He added: “Ultimately, it’s not what we say that people remember, but how we made people feel.”
Both speakers also mentioned the School’s most famous alumnus, William Wilberforce, whose compassion, gentleness and tireless campaigning for a cause he believed in made him a truly great person.
The Prizegiving ceremony, held in the school’s packed sports hall on the last day of term, celebrated the achievements of pupils which, whether on a big or small scale, drew enthusiastic support and applause.
The Pocklington School Swing Band entertained the pupils, parents, staff, governors and friends as they arrived, and after the ceremony the guests enjoyed Pimm’s and canapés in the school grounds as they reflected on a successful and productive year.