Portsmouth High School senior girls, from Years 10-13, were the proud recipients of achievement awards and cups this week as friends, family, pupils and staff from the school gathered for an evening of celebration.
The evening was attended by many VIPs including the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason and the Mayor of Havant, Councillor Elaine Shimbart with the Mayor’s Consort.
Last year’s leavers returned to school to receive their awards before starting at universities later this week. Courses they are taking range from Biomedical Science at Cardiff to Computer Science at Royal Holloway and from Law at Oxford to English Literature at Manchester. Some of the girls have opted for a gap year before they move on to careers or degree courses.
The guest speaker was Portsmouth High School alumna and BBC News Presenter, Anjana Gadgil. Anjana is a reporter for BBC South Today and left the school in 1994 to read Chinese and History at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
‘The big choice I had as a new graduate was which of my interests to follow; I was offered a job in China having studied Mandarin and I was also offered a job in sports journalism at the Guardian.
‘Neither decision would have been wrong, although I often wonder how my life would have turned out had I stayed in China. The key thing is to get into a position where you have the luxury of choice. And that takes a foundation of hard work, but also being constantly open to new things and experiences. And also, I’m only 39, I’ve only worked for 15 years. I can still choose to do something completely different.
‘Choice is a luxury; say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as you can,’ she continued. ‘You all have the capability to make every decision work for you. Make the most of the ones you do choose. I have been so privileged tonight to be surrounded by girls who have achieved so much and on a journey to achieve so much more.’
Headmistress Mrs Jane Prescott, added in her address: ‘Whilst I praise our outstanding examination results it isn’t all that is good about PHS and arguably it is just the icing on the cake – it is by no means our substance.'
'Girls leave us with an open mind, with an ability to concede they may have got it wrong, with a generosity of spirit and faith, by which I mean a positive and meaningful awareness of spiritual nature which may or may not be founded in religion.'
'They find a compass by which to set their life. I am proud of all our girls and the wider whole school community and when I say that I consider myself to be the luckiest of all headmistresses I mean it truly from my heart.’