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St Ambrose Barlow RC High School and Sixth Form welcomed students and parents, past and present to this year’s Presentation Evening at Maxwell Hall, Salford University. The evening was a fantastic celebration of the pupils’ achievements, particularly those who have just received GCSE and BTEC results, but also an opportunity to praise individual successes in different subject areas and excellence in Sport and the Arts.

The evening began with a welcome from Chair of Governors, Philip Royle, followed by a short showcase of the school drama and musical talents. Drama students performed an extract from Dr Korczak’s Example by David Greig to celebrate the rights of the child and the audience were treated to a lively band performance, featuring drums and electric guitars, followed by a keyboard solo. The interlude was finished off with a speech from one of the school Oracy Ambassadors.

The Guest Speaker on the night was renowned Manchester poet, playwright and filmmaker, Louise Wallwein, who has written, performed, and collaborated all over the world. Louise was brought up in 13 different children’s homes and wrote her first play at the age of 17. Her works are numerous and wide ranging, including a one-woman show ‘Low Flying Aircraft’ performed on the wing of a World War 2 Shackleton aircraft!

Louise presented GCSE and BTEC certificates and a number of special prizes which were given to pupils from Year 7 to the Sixth Form. There were prizes for Overall Excellence, Overall Progress, Subject Merit and Progress, Sport, Art, Creativity and the CARES Award that goes to the person who has contributed most to the Catholic Ethos of the school.

Louise went on to give an inspirational speech, encouraging the students to go out and make the very best of themselves. She recounted her own personal story to them, emphasising that no matter how tough your beginnings it is possible to achieve amazing things if you work hard and believe. She read from the Charlie Chaplin poem ‘As I Began to Love Myself’, including the words: “As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it Maturity”. Her final advice to the students was: “Now is your time, this is your beginning, be curious. And never stop questioning.”

The evening was a resounding success and thanks go to all parents, pupils and staff for making it so.

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