St Mary's School

St Mary’s School Prize Giving 2023: Speech by Poppy, Mary Ward Girl 2022

St Mary’s School Prize Giving 2023

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

It is so lovely to be back at St Mary’s once again!

As soon as I was told I was ‘The ‘Mary Ward Girl’ last year, I must say I was shocked, but also extremely grateful for the opportunity and role I had been given.

I was so filled with joy and excitement, but then I remembered I had to write this speech!

Let’s just say the joy and excitement were replaced with a little anxiety… I thought to myself, “What am I going to do? “How am I going to write this speech?” I have never written or indeed given a speech before. If I could give myself some advice a year ago, I would simply tell myself not to worry about it and no matter what, I would find a way through it!

When I began in Reception, I vividly remember arriving on the first day, hanging up my coat on the pegs and walking into the classroom. I was so excited to start my first day and still that excitement has stayed with me ever since.

When I started I had pure love for this school. Not only has St Mary’s given me many friends, but it has also taught me how to treat them in the best way possible using the ‘St Mary’s Way.’  I really admire the quote, “Do your best to be your best,” as it always encourages me to do as much as I possibly can and to never give up when times get tough.

Another of the ‘St Mary’s Ways’ that means a lot to me is, “Treat others as you would like to be treated” as it represents equality. It forces you to think about what you say and do to someone before you make assumptions, or do something which could unintentionally make the person upset. I really think this will be something I carry throughout my life.

From my point of view, the ‘St Mary’s Way’ is about encouraging people in whatever they do and providing a nourishing environment for children in which to grow and adapt.

Due to my Dyslexia, I have sometimes found it harder to learn new things and adapt to new skills. But, with the help of all the amazing and supportive teachers at St Mary’s, I gained so much confidence and feel like I can achieve anything now!

Throughout my eight years at St Mary’s, I made many, many wonderful friends, memories and bonds that will last forever. Some of my favourite memories were going on all of our school trips, especially the ones to Whipsnade Zoo and Normandy. I also loved all the charity work that St Mary’s did such as selling tulips for Ukraine. And, of course, who didn’t love all the delicious Bake Sales and the School’s iconic brownies!

My all-time favourite memory of St Mary’s was going to Skern Lodge, an activity centre with kayaking, rock climbing and raft building. Sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows and singing songs will always hold a special place in my heart.

During my time at St Mary’s, unfortunately, we had to miss a lot of school due to Covid which had an impact on our learning and our relationships. During this time period, I noticed how well the teachers supported us whilst home-schooling and adapting back to normal school life. I’m really grateful for all the hard work they put in to make sure that we could still learn and have fun at the same time as a year group.

You hear all of these rules about being nice, forgiving, and all the basic qualities of being morally good. But, let’s be honest, how many of you see these rules being broken in your everyday life?  I believe it’s crucial for everyone to always be kind and supportive to people even if you don’t know or particularly like them.

Now, let’s speak about the delights in store for the new Year 6s. I would like to start with the differences between St Mary’s and senior schools, some good and some not so good (in my experience)!

The good things:

1) More students

2) More sports options

4) More freedom

5) Larger school

6) School day finishes earlier (woohoo)

AND…The not-so-good things:

1) More homework, BOO!

2) Detentions


4) No St Mary’s Brownies

5) Lots of annoying boys in my class!!!!

I would like to wish Mrs Connor-Earl the best of luck in her new role and to thank her so so much for all of the help she gave me and so many others. St Mary’s will miss you!!!

I would also like to wish all Year 6s the best of luck in your new schools and have a great summer holiday everyone!!!

Thank you.