At the Claires Court Junior Girls Prize Giving Ceremony on Thursday 13 July, the pupils were delighted to welcome Dame Katherine Grainger as their guest of honour.
After performances by each of the year groups, the most decorated GB female Olympian gave an inspirational speech to the girls. She spoke of the importance of challenging themselves and setting goals, and believing that they can achieve. Dame Katherine encouraged the girls to take every opportunity and told them that school is all about opportunities, she said, “You must try everything so you can find out for yourself something you are good at.” Dame Katherine then showed the audience her huge London Olympic Gold Medal and told of how it wasn’t until she was 17 and at university that she had the chance to try rowing.
Leanne Barlow, Head of Junior Girls, parents and pupils enthused about her speech when they met for drinks on the lawn. They were delighted when Dame Katherine joined the Year 6 Girls as they released their balloons, tagged with their hopes and dreams for the future. So engaged with the pupils, the guest of honour wrote her own message on her reserved seat place card, which may well have now have landed in a Maidenhead garden. The School would love to hear if anyone finds it.
Miss Barlow said, “Today was incredibly inspirational. Katherine’s words will echo in the ears of the girls for many years. Katherine spoke about her journey to the Gold Medal and wow what a journey. Her words matched the theme which ran through our prize giving this afternoon: opportunities, opportunities, opportunities! Our girls are outstanding in every way and today we celebrated them and their achievements of the year.”
At the end of an unforgettable day, Dame Katherine spent time signing books and programmes and said, ‘This was a fabulous occasion, I loved every minute. The girls are far more talented and able than me. I felt very inspired myself.”