Our Leavers' Service took place in Pitsford Church on Thursday 19 May followed by a Sixth Form Leavers' Dinner in Pitsford Hall on Friday 20 May. We wish all our Year 11 pupils and Sixth Formers every success in their forthcoming examinations. We shall miss you and hope you will keep in touch with Pitsford School where a warm welcome will await you.
Below are extracts from the Headmaster, Mr Noel Toone's speech delivered at the Leavers' Service: "If you look up into the sky at about 4.00am tomorrow, you may catch a glimpse of the International Space Station. Orbiting 415km above our heads, and reflecting light from the sun, it will be the brightest thing in the night sky after the moon.
"Currently on board is Tim Peake, only the second ever UK astronaut. He was most recently in the news a few weeks ago when he ran the London Marathon in space on a treadmill. When I was 11, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then, only Russians or Americans went into space. However, by the time I was old enough, I thought, maybe things will have changed so I started reading every astronomy book I could find in Northampton library - remember this was in the days before the internet and you had to look things up in books!
"I also started learning Russian as I thought that would be an advantage, being able to communicate with Russian astronauts. I even studied Astrophysics at University but ultimately I didn't make it as an astronaut; the UK did not get involved in manned space-flight at all, and at some point I must have decided that it wasn't going to happen.
"Franklin Chang Diaz however, did make it happen. He was at an even bigger disadvantage than I was, born into a poor Venezuelan family, he worked hard at school, took a job to earn enough money to move to the USA, enrolled in High School to improve his English, won a scholarship to University and then applied to NASA for astronaut selection. He failed because he wasn't a US citizen. Did he give up? No, he just waited 10 years until he had lived in the USA long enough to gain citizenship and applied to NASA again. That time he made it and in 1986, 30 years after deciding he wanted to be an astronaut, he went into space on the Columbia Space Shuttle.
"Whereas I merely wanted to be, he was going to be, an astronaut. I had a dream, he had a goal! Those of you here today who are shortly going on to take the next step on the education ladder, may be already focused on where life will lead, maybe a doctor, a vet or a lawyer. Most of you, however, probably only have a vague idea ... but that doesn't matter ... you just have to recognise what will make you happy and not squander whatever opportunities are presented to you.
"Remember this ... you CAN achieve almost anything you can wish for, but wishing alone is not sufficient. You need to work hard, be committed and be willing to make whatever sacrifices you need to. That is the difference between a dream and a goal. That is true not only in academic endeavours, but also in sport, music and every other walk of life.
"Young people actually differ far more in your aspirations than your abilities! What do you aspire to achieve? Have you worked out or had the courage to take the first step on that journey? Success won't just fall into your lap, but opportunities will. It is up to you to make success out of those opportunities.
"The Sixth Form at Pitsford School is unique and you have been privileged to be part of it. You may not realise it yet, but in years to come you will appreciate your time at Pitsford School more and more. We have, I hope, taught you to question things, form your own opinions and to value others.
"You will look back on your school-days as some of the happiest days of your life. You will have made lifelong friendships, even if you have only been at Pitsford School for a year or two and you will take away not only friends but a great many shared memories. I feel privileged to have known you and very proud of all of you. So, goodbye, good luck and my very best wishes for what the future has in store for you."
More photographs can be viewed at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26034413@N07/sets/72157668333502442