Harrogate Grammar School honours student excellence at Celebration of Achievement evening

5 January 2023

Harrogate Grammar School’s Celebration of Achievement was held to honour students’ successes in 2021-2022. Held in the school’s Main Hall, which is steeped in history, it was a truly special night; recognising the wide-ranging skills and talents of Harrogate Grammar School students, as well as their more personal journeys.

The prize-giving ceremony was hosted by Neil Renton, Headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School. He spoke, in his welcome address, of his pride in staging the event and said that the range of awards being presented not only “reflect far into the school’s past but will carry forward into the future.” This was followed by a screened montage of the 2021-22 academic year’s events, successes and student involvement across the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities, which led into the prizes being awarded.

Strings ensemble

The awards evening was interspersed with uplifting student performances, commencing with a rousing performance of ‘Carol of the Bells’ by the Strings Ensemble and later, extracts from ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Guests on the night included Harrogate Grammar School Alumna, Susanna Cirulli, who completed Sixth Form in 2016 as a Deputy Head Student before studying Mandarin and Spanish in Edinburgh. Graduating with First Class Honours and a Distinction in Mandarin, Susanna briefly contemplated using her skills in the secret service. However, Susanna “followed her gut” and instead completed her postgraduate studies to return to Harrogate Grammar School as a teacher in the Modern Foreign Languages faculty. Her speech was truly inspirational and finished with her telling students to “always be sure to be your authentic self”.

The night drew to a close with memorable speeches from Head Students, Harry Baskind and Harriet Winspear.

Head student_Harry Baskind
Head student, Harry Baskind


Head Student_Harriet Winspear
Head Student, Harriet Winspear

Harriet recalled her memories of early secondary school life and how her attitude to others and school changed after a teacher challenged her “to be classy not sassy”. Looking back at ‘her Year 9 self’, she has grown in confidence but also wants to share the message “be kind”, referencing a quote, “If you can be anything, be kind”.

After recounting recent events and experiences that had influenced and shaped his outlook, Harry added that the key message he wanted to get across was ‘honesty’ and ‘to face your fears’. “When you’re most nervous to jump, that is exactly when you should”.
The evening concluded with Finale performances of ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’ and ‘I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday’ by Year 12 BTEC bands, with the audience leaving feeling very festive on the run up to Christmas.

HGS – A Christmas Carol
Presentation of awards
Presentation of awards
Presentation of awards

Headteacher Neil Renton said:

It’s always wonderful to celebrate our students’ dedication and skills and a privilege to share young people’s successes. We hope the awards presented and personal stories shared, will encourage others to try new things, find their passion and to persevere in whatever path they choose.

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