Good Morning, Chairman of the Board, board members, Dean Lawrence, Mr Thelning, staff, parents and fellow students.

My name is Finn and I am very proud to have been the head boy of The Cathedral Grammar School in 2019.

This is my tenth and final year at Cathedral Grammar and it is with a mixture of excitement and sadness that I deliver this prize-giving speech.

I am sad to be leaving the school that I have spent most of my life at, but at the same time, I am excited by what is in front of me and the challenges ahead.

We finish 2019 as senior students in a comfortable and safe environment and head into 2020 as new students facing the unknown and with many new challenges ahead.

Last Thursday the Year 8’s had their leavers dinner at Christ College. Here the House leaders got to do a speech on their memories and highlights at Grammar. A common theme from the speeches were the opportunities we have here at Grammar.

This is something that I would like to expand on as I feel that I have had plenty of opportunities at Grammar.

What is the definition of an opportunity?

An opportunity is “A time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something”.

“Every day is a new day, a new opportunity, a new chance”.

These primary school years go by so quickly and we must take every opportunity that is presented to us.

Don’t head off to high school thinking “I wish I had tried that” or “I should have given that a go!!!

Look at what the school has to offer and leave with no regrets.

For me personally, my school life at Cathedral Grammar has given me so much

The daily training, discipline and performing life of a chorister.

The competitive environment on the sports field. The comprehensive, rigid classroom learning. The opportunity to perform in musicals, enter poetry competitions, science fairs, school camps, public speaking, Jump Jam and the list goes on.

Last but not least is the opportunity to hang out with my friends and develop friendships that will hopefully last a long time.

My 10 years at Cathedral Grammar has seen massive change, not only within the staff and buildings but in the way we look at our school.

This is The Grammar Way I have heard many people say. As a student who has come through this era, I have seen the school grow and evolve whilst keeping its traditions, standards and core values which pleases me greatly.

Cathedral Grammar has moved forward, embraced change and focused on student development and growth.

I like the idea of incorporating the past, the present and the future into Cathedral Grammar.

Lucy and I and the senior leaders represent the school and speak on behalf of our year 8 peers.

2019 has produced an incredibly strong group of year 8 students who are conscientious, hard-working, caring and together as a group we have embraced the opportunities given to us.

Year 8 should be proud of the achievements and successes we have experienced.

We are the students that got through the earthquake all those years ago.

We are the students that lived our lives in portacabins and temporary classrooms during the rebuild.

We are the students who went on the first school camp to Whenua-iti.

We are the students who won a Canterbury Primary Schools hockey title, performed in front of royalty, welcomed the new Bishop, appeared on What Now, performed at the Town Hall with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

We are the students who ranked nationally at the New Zealand Chess competition, won the Digi-awards, competed in Aims games with a broken arm, made a South Island cricket team, went on a service trip to Samoa, competed in regional Jump Jam competitions.

We are students who competed across the country in sporting, academic, cultural and musical performances.

We are the students who took our opportunities and were lucky enough to have quality teachers who allowed us to achieve them,

This Year 8 group will be leaving the school with a smile on their faces and a sense of satisfaction and gratitude for their time at Cathedral Grammar.

To all Year 1-7 students I want to emphasise to you that there is much on offer. Please enjoy Grammar life, primary school life and take on what is presented to you.

I am one of the lucky students here at Cathedral Grammar as I have been here since preschool and have had the benefit of the likes of Mrs Bond, Mrs Hubers, Mrs Marsh, MrsWright and Mrs Gray keeping an eye out for me from day one. Thank you to all of you for your support

I cannot finish my speech without also saying thank you to several special people.

Mr Linker and Mr Oldham (Crispy) a special thank you for all your patience, support and prompting over the years in my life as a chorister. They say we do something like 1,000 services as part of our choir commitment - I only have a few more to go and my voice is telling me the same thing.

Mrs Jones and Mrs Bond for mentoring me with my hockey and cricket, Mr Bertie for introducing me to water Polo and especially Mrs Hubers for supporting me in the classroom and in my role as Head Boy.

Special thanks also to Mr Thelning and the senior leaders for guiding me in my final year at Grammar.

Good luck to Lucy, Jonty, Nyah and Spencer and to new staff joining the school.

Merry Christmas, have an enjoyable holiday and good luck for 2020.



Finn Banner