Ashbourne News Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Gareth But­ter­field gareth.but­ter­[email protected]­bourne­new­stele­graph.co.uk

TWO for­mer stu­dents of Queen El­iz­a­beth’s Gram­mar School who have gone on to achieve great things were in­vited back as guests of hon­our at the Green Road school’s an­nual speech day.

The event on Thurs­day is one of the high­lights of the school year, when the head­teacher, gov­er­nors, pupils and guests, make speeches, in­ter­spersed with the pre­sen­ta­tion of awards for the year’s top stu­dents.

Busi­ness owner Ash­ley Spendlove and Ge­orge Tres­sider, who left the school in 2011, spent the day meet­ing and in­spir­ing cur­rent and past stu­dents, who were among the au­di­ence of par­ents, staff, dig­ni­taries, spon­sors and in­vited guests on the night.

Ash­ley, who runs a com­pany which man­ages ac­counts with com­pa­nies such as John Lewis, TK Maxx, Ama­zon and QVC, was the guest speaker and pre­sented the aca­demic prizes.

Ge­orge, who pre­sented the sports colours, has played rugby for Eng­land, cap­tained the Le­ices­ter Tigers in the 2014 Premier­ship Sevens, was part of the squad who faced Ar­gentina in a warm-up game for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and is now read­ing his­tory at Ox­ford. Ear­lier this month Ge­orge also gained an Ox­ford ‘blue’ in the Var­sity game at Twick­en­ham.

Head­teacher Scott Gar­rity thanked the pair for com­ing back to QEGS. He said in his speech: “Ash­ley and Ge­orge, it is a real hon­our to have you both here and I know that this means a lot to you and your fam­i­lies.

“Thankyou for giv­ing us your time, par­tic­u­larly when you spoke to younger stu­dents, and for your time this evening to at­tend this awards cer­e­mony.

“Ash­ley and Ge­orge both rep­re­sent the wealth of op­por­tu­nity and tal­ent that has been fos­tered and de­vel­oped at this amaz­ing school.

“Amaz­ing, yes. I have no prob­lem with the hy­per­bole for this school. In a town of only 7,000 peo­ple, with many sur­round­ing small vil­lages, the com­mu­nity and school work tire­lessly to en­sure QEGS stu­dents are able to live, work, achieve and com­pete with the very best.” Amaz­ing was a thread through the evening, and the theme of the tra­di­tional video, which is played dur­ing the head’s speech. It is made by stu­dents and staff, and al­ways brings some light­hearted fun to the pro­ceed­ings.

Mr Gar­rity said: “What makes QEGS amaz­ing? Lots of things. Last year I spoke about the holis­tic ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and the range of ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer here and to not sim­ply be an exam fac­tory. This year, I would like to be more spe­cific and I take my in­spi­ra­tion and re­as­sur­ance from a con­fer­ence I at­tended ear­lier this month.

“The theme was ‘Pure Imag­i­na­tion’ and it was aimed at se­nior lead­ers in ed­u­ca­tion to look at how we pro­vide cre­ativ­ity in our schools and the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

“The sig­nif­i­cant mes­sage for me was how no ma­chine can com­pletely repli­cate our abil­ity to be cre­ative nor, most im­por­tantly, can it repli­cate our abil­ity to dream. Be­ing cre­ative does not sim­ply mean art, mu­sic and dance. Be­ing cre­ative means solv­ing prob­lems with well thought-out so­lu­tions, do­ing more with less. In ed­u­ca­tion, we all know how that feels.

“Be­ing cre­ative is the abil­ity and flair to work in groups and as a team, and yes be­ing cre­ative does also mean tak­ing an in­ter­est in the arts which we are to­tally com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing here at QEGS.

“Most im­por­tantly, we want our stu­dents and staff to dream big, to ex­pect the best, know what they are good at, or find what they are good at and then make it even greater.

“A dream can be re­al­is­tic or ex­tremely op­ti­mistic but to not have a dream is a void that will eat away at your hap­pi­ness and con­tent­ment.

“Just be­ing a good, well­rounded per­son is what makes you ‘QEGS amaz­ing.’

“Stu­dents, what is your dream? Try to live and breathe it ev­ery day.

“Well done on your suc­cesses, en­joy your fes­tive break and I hope 2019 will be an­other ‘QEGS Amaz­ing’ year for you all.” l Next week the News Tele­graph will list the awards given out on the night, with more pic­tures of the re­cip­i­ents.

No ma­chine can ever com­pletely repli­cate our abil­ity to be cre­ative Head­teacher Scott Gar­rity

A mu­si­cal in­ter­lude by Kythe Beres­ford

Ash­ley Spendlove

Speech Day at QEGS

Head­teacher Scott Gar­rity, Ash­ley Spendlove, ex­ec­u­tive head­teacher Anne Martin, Ge­orge Tresid­der, chair of gov­er­nors He­len Baker

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