Leavers from Bolton School Girls’ Division were sent out into the world with words of inspiration from former pupil, the Rt Rev Dr Jill Duff, the recently consecrated Bishop of Lancaster. As guest speaker at the sixth form presentation evening, she recalled her own days in the Girls’ Division and told pupils how she realised now that the school had “set her up for life”, having been told that she could achieve anything she wanted.
Explaining that the School had given her “a big vision” which had to be backed up with energy, she cited the Leverhulme family, who oversaw the foundation of Bolton School in 1915. Paraphrasing the Nigerian feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the bishop told girls “don’t fold yourselves up because you feel the need to be liked but unfold your wings to the fullest extent”. Quoting Catherine of Siena, she encouraged girls to “be who God called you to be and you will set the world on fire”. She advised girls that they were at “a mountain top moment” where they can take stock and pride in how far they have come and also look forward to the future – a future where they should stretch their wings and take up that big vision.
Earlier, Chairman of Governors, Mr Michael Griffiths, told girls that they had “excelled in a school of high achievers and we are very proud of you”. He praised the “outstanding and dedicated staff and headmistress” and offered thanks to parents for the support they have given throughout. Mr Griffiths also expressed his delight at the recent success of the 100 Bursary Campaign, which has raised £5m to help deserving local children enjoy an education at Bolton School.
In a humorous and touching address, Headmistress Sue Hincks recapped the leavers’ time in school, wished them all the very best in their future lives, and commended their academic and extra-curricular achievements: “they are testament to your intellect and the hard work and dedication of your teachers.”
The gathering of parents, pupils, governors and teachers in the Great Hall sang the hymns ‘I vow to thee my country’ and ‘Jerusalem’, student saxophonist Abigail Naylor performed Concerto by Alexander Glazunov, and then the bishop distributed GCSE and A level certificates and school prizes. The evening culminated with a rousing version of the school song before refreshments were taken in the dining hall.