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News > School News > Prize Giving 2023

Prize Giving 2023

We were delighted to welcome our Guest of Honour for the evening, FHS alumna and acclaimed author, Dame Rose Tremain, who is kindly sponsoring our inaugural Rose Tremain Short Story Prize

On Monday 3rd July 2023, we held one of the most treasured events of our annual school calendar: Prize-Giving at Cadogan Hall.

This year’s ceremony was a particularly special and poignant occasion as it was Lucy Elphinstone’s last as Headmistress at FHS, following 11 years of truly outstanding headship, and it marked a decade of Prize-Givings being held at this majestic venue.

The evening began with an excellent introductory speech by our Chair of Governors, Mr Patrick Sherrington, in which he praised the dynamism, innovation and inspiration of Mrs Elphinstone’s Headship and her immense dedication to FHS, which has resulted in remarkable growth and transformation of our wonderful school over the last decade. He thanked her for her distinctive vision which continues to make FHS so exceptional, and described how her legacy will live on in the lifeblood of our amazing community, the work of her successors and the Elphinstone Scholarship, which will ensure a little girl who would otherwise not be able to enjoy the privilege of an FHS education will be able to with a bursary place, in perpetuity.

After Mrs Elphinstone awarding the subject prizes for Year 7, we were so excited to welcome our Guest of Honour for the evening, FHS alumna and internationally acclaimed author, Dame Rose Tremain, who is very kindly sponsoring our inaugural Rose Tremain Short Story Prize. Dame Rose spoke very fondly of her time at FHS, how she had loved the warmth and family feel of the school’s culture and how she had felt inspired to explore her innate creativity and pursue her (immensely successful!) writing career. She then discussed and praised the short stories of our runner up, Maya in Year 11, and our winner, Olivia in Year 7, of the first Rose Tremain Short Story prize, before presenting them their prizes.

We then enjoyed the awarding of subject prizes for each year group, interspersed by performances by our immensely talented pupils: a hilarious rendition of Nell Gwynn by our three Lower Sixth Drama students, ‘Impossible’ by Jax Jones, danced exquisitely by our three ballet scholars, choreographed by Miss Stephanie Ross, and a stunning performance of ‘We are the Music Makers’ by Senior Chamber Choir, directed by Miss Helen Vickery and accompanied by Miss Maki Gajic Murata.

When we reached the Upper Sixth prizes, we were delighted to introduce two very special new prizes: the Julia Banks Prize for Unsung Sixth Form Heroes, bestowed by the wonderful Julia Banks who is leaving FHS after 21 years of outstanding service, which this year was awarded to Tess in the Lower Sixth and Annabelle in the Upper Sixth, and the Fearless Girl Prize, bestowed by Mrs Elphinstone herself, which was awarded to Sabrina in the Upper Sixth.

The evening came to a climax with a final address by Mrs Elphinstone which was simultaneously hilarious, inspirational, immensely moving and, of course, absolutely iconic. She described her time at FHS as the best in her life, and described how the warmth, uniqueness, creativity and family feel of our school community is truly exceptional. She eloquently described how a culture of service and giving, of championing individuality, passion, courage and integrity over rudimentary measures of academic success has built a steadfast happy, inclusive school community where girls are empowered to pursue their dreams and achieve incredible success in so many different areas. She was quite rightly greeted with a standing ovation.

We were then surprised and delighted by an impressively melodic performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, only added to the programme earlier that day due to other entertainment unfortunately falling through, by Mrs Elphinstone and Sofia in the Lower Sixth  – the true personification of Fearless Girls! The evening came to a close with a fabulous orchestral performance of all-time favourite, Jerusalem, sung with gusto by all in attendance.

What an evening! Congratulations to all our worthy prize winners and thank you to our amazing staff who have supported, encouraged and inspired them this academic year. Thank you so much also to Mr Sherrington, Dame Tremain, our fantastic performers and our parent and governor community. Finally, a very, very special thank you to Mrs Elphinstone for making her last Prize-Giving at FHS so memorable and uplifting. We look forward to welcoming her back as an important member of our alumni community and to continue to see the transformational effect of her leadership and distinctive ethos live on for years to come in the work of her successors.

 

Prize-Giving 2023

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