The 20 October saw the Manchester High community gather at the Bridgewater Hall for its inaugural Celebration and Awards Evening. Combining what was Founders’ Day and Speech Night, the theme of the event was ‘courage’ and as a School it celebrated the achievements and bravery of past and present pupils.
Guest of Honour was The Right Reverend Libby Lane, first female bishop of the Church of England, and Manchester High ‘old girl’. Bishop Lane spoke about her historic consecration and reflected on how she had fought her own fears to challenge institutional resistance and personal opposition to her appointment.
She empathised with current students and recognised that while issues they may encounter during their school years will not have to be dealt with in the media spotlight, they will still require a great deal of courage and mettle:
“I may be inhabiting an extraordinary moment in history, but the fears I face are common to probably all of us. For the occasions that we exhibit courage will be small and unrecognised, rather than on a heroic scale and in the glare of the world’s media, they are nonetheless important for that. The things that make us afraid the world may never know, but how we face those fears and live through them, or with them, may determine the shape of our own lives and the lives of those around us.”
Mrs Claire Hewitt, Head Mistress, praised the School’s A-level and International Baccalaureate cohort whose phenomenal success placed Manchester High School for Girls eighth nationally in The Times’ achievement tables. The current Junior Sixth were presented with their GCSE certificates and Clara Rundell and Emma Truman, winners of the School’s musical Warburton Competition, performed.
Mrs Hewitt commented: “There is always a sense of occasion and a unique atmosphere when the Manchester High community comes together. As always, our Head Girl Team read out the names of our Founders; a visionary and courageous group of people who I believe would be very proud of the achievements of our girls today.
“Manchester High has a long and proud history of engendering courageous and brave women and I know that this tradition lives on and is as strong as ever. On a daily basis I am privileged to see girls stepping outside of their comfort zones to cope positively with personal tragedies, tackle obstacles, overcome set-backs and respond to academic challenges.”
The Schools’ Founders will also be remembered on Tuesday 19 January 2016 when all pupils, from Prep through to Sixth Form, as well as teaching and support staff, will attend a special assembly to mark the day that Manchester High was founded back in 1874.